May Day: Thousands March Across Greece to Commemorate Labor Day



May Day protesters in Athens. Photo by Kathimerini

Thousands of people, including members of trade unions, political parties and workers, marched in Athens and many other major Greek cities on Wednesday to commemorate Labor Day, The day devoted to workers is celebrated across Europe and other parts of the world on May 1st.

Umbrella unions, parties and grassroots movements had already announced their plans to hold rallies in the capital, with public transport operating on a reduced schedule all day long.

The private-sector confederation GSEE and the public-sector umbrella union ADEDY had called for a 24-hour general strike, and they held a rally at 11:00 in the morning local time at Klafthmonos Square in central Athens.

Thousands marched in the central streets of Athens on May Day, 2019. Photo by ANT1 news

The participants then marched toward the Greek Parliament at Syntagma square, protesting against “exploitation and social inequalities.”

Other rallies in central Athens included the one organized by the LAE party and extra-parliamentary leftist groups at Pattision Avenue. Another, which was the largest in terms of participants, was held at Syntagma Square by PAME, the labor union affiliated with the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

In a statement issued by the Greek government on the occasion of the day, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras discussed some of the measures which have helped to heal the wounds of the financial crisis.

He listed the rise in the minimum wage, the abolition of the sub-minimum wage, the reinstatement of collective bargaining and the imposition of penalties to employers who do not respect labor law in Greece as important steps his administration has taken in this direction.

On May 1, millions of workers across the world commemorate the Haymarket Massacre of Chicago in 1886, when a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day ended in bloodshed.