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The BBC's James Robbins
reports on what lay behind today's protests
 real 56k

Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Mass protests mark May Day
Swiss protesters face Zurich police
At least 40 protesters were arrested in Zurich
Trade unionists, anti-globalisation campaigners and environmentalists have been holding rallies around the world to mark May Day.

Clashes broke out in Australia and Germany, but for the most part the hundreds of thousands of people who took part saw no violence.

In Australia, about 30 people were injured after thousands of anti-globalisation protesters fought with police in Melbourne and Sydney, blockading buildings and burning political effigies.

German riot police
German riot police clashed with left-wing demonstrators
Two policemen were injured, one stabbed in the leg, and dozens of marchers were arrested after demonstrators attempted to blockade the Sydney stock exchange.

Protesters in Brisbane threw themselves on the road to try to prevent police vans taking those arrested away.

"The world belongs to the people. The streets belong to the people," shouted protesters in Brisbane.

In Germany, riot police in Berlin clashed with anti-capitalist protesters in two separate locations in former east Berlin, one on the site of the Berlin Wall itself.

May Day marches
Australia: Stock markets targeted
Cuba: Anti-US protests
Germany: Riot police clash with left-wing protesters
UK: Anti-capitalist protest in central London
Turkey: jobs and prisoners' rights
Pakistan: Pro-democracy protestors arrested
Russia: jobs and salaries and "We want another Stalin"
Spain: immigrants' rights
Zimbabwe: Workers' rallies in Harare
Demonstrators blocked roads, erected barricades, and pelted police with bottle and stones.

At least 40 people were arrested as police moved in with water cannon and armoured cars.

A rally by the the neo-nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) passed off peacefully on the eastern outskirts of the capital.

In Switzerland several dozen people were arrested in Zurich as left-wing demonstrators dressed in black and wearing hoods threw stones and bags of paint at the security forces.

In the UK, more than 6,000 police were deployed as thousands of people stage a series of an anti-capitalist protests in the heart of London.

London police have said they are adopting a policy of "zero tolerance" to prevent a repeat of last year's violence in the city.

In Zimbabwe, riot police moved in to break up trouble at a traditional May Day rally between trade unionists linked to the opposition, and self-styled war veterans backed by the government.

The war veterans, who have been attacking businesses in Zimbabwe's cities, say they can better represent the rights of urban workers.

War veteran leader Joseph Chinotimba
Zimbabwean war veteran leader threatened private companies with invasion
In Pakistan, police have arrested more than 150 pro-democracy protestors in the port city of Karachi. They were attempting to defy a ban on public meetings imposed by the military regime.

Large numbers of police and paramilitary have been deployed on the streets.

In Russia tens of thousands of people marched to demand better pay and more jobs.

In Siberia and the Far East there were nationalistic tones as the marchers carried banners saying "We need a second Stalin" and "No to the anti-national policy of the government".

Pakistan police break up pro-democracy marchers
Pakistani police moved in on pro-democracy marchers
In South Korea, thousands of workers marched through Seoul to protest against economic reforms that have resulted in layoffs.

About 500 South Korean trade unionists also attended an unprecedented joint rally with workers in communist North Korea.

In Iran, workers demanded jobs and tougher action against illegal foreign labourers.

Protesters in Zurich
In Zurich the gay atmosphere turned into ugly clashes
In Turkey relatives of left-wing prison inmates chanted anti-government slogans, holding banners reading "Stop to isolation". Twenty prisoners have died of hundreds who are on hunger strike.

Norway's Foreign Minister Thorbjoern Jagland was in for a surprise when protesters threw cream pie in his face.

He light-heartedly cleaned himself up and proceeded to lead a labour march in Oslo.

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See also:

01 May 01 | South Asia
Pakistan police swoop on protest
01 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
May Day violence hits Australia
01 May 01 | UK
The spirit of Seattle
01 May 01 | UK
What is anti-globalisation?
21 Apr 01 | Americas
Quebec violence flares again
01 May 01 | Africa
Harare fears May Day showdown
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