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The BBC's Andrew Clark
reports on May day demonstrations in Berlin and across the world
 real 56k

Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Europe marks May Day with protest
May Day demonstrations in Germany
Demonstrations started in the early hours in Berlin
Hundreds of thousands of anti-capitalist demonstrators and trade unionists have taken to the streets of Europe for May Day marches.

In Berlin, where a record 9,000 police were deployed to control leftist demonstrators, several officers were injured and 40 people were arrested during overnight clashes.

A dancer among demonstrators during Moscow's Communist May Day march
A dancer leads Communists along the streets of Moscow
In London 10,000 police were involved in scuffles with anti-globalisation activists who flooded shopping streets in the city centre.

Elsewhere demonstrations were mainly peaceful.

In France hundreds of thousands of trade unionists marched in towns across the country in defence of workers' rights.

M&S targeted

Thousands surrounded a branch of the British shop Marks and Spencer in Toulouse, in protest at the chain's recent decision to close all stores in continental Europe, with the loss of 4,400 jobs.

Germany's May Day
40 overnight arrests in Berlin
9,000 police deployed in Berlin
Barricades and one arrest in Hamburg
Peaceful trade union rallies across the country
The trouble in Berlin began in the early hours of the morning in two separate locations in former East Berlin, one on the site of the Berlin Wall itself.

Under cover of darkness, roads were blocked and barricades were erected.

Riot control police were pelted with rocks and bottles and fires illuminated the night sky for miles around.

Demonstration in Berlin to protest against banning of anti-capitalist march
A demonstration was held in Berlin to protest against banning of an anti-capitalist march
In running battles with the demonstrators, riot police used water cannons and armoured cars.

The Berlin authorities had sought to ban both the anti-capitalist anarchist protest and another by the far-right National Democratic Party, the NPD.

But the courts overturned the ban on the far-right, and several hundred NPD supporters, chanting "jobs for German workers", held a noisy protest in east Berlin.

Confrontation

In London protests got off to a muted start, with demonstrators outnumbered by police.

But by mid-afternoon police were confronting thousands of protesters on Oxford Street - described by the protesters as the "jugular vein of consumer capitalism".

Police had already made 20 arrests and said a hard core of demonstrators was intent on causing violence and criminal damage.

Last year in both London and Berlin, May Day rallies descended into violence, with dozens injured and arrested.

Communists

Other big demonstrations took place in Russia, Ukraine, Austria, Italy, Greece and Spain.

A farmer leads a march through streets of Bilbao
Cows took part in Bilbao's march
An estimated 100,000 marchers gathered in Vienna - where the rise of the far-right Freedom Party has boosted support for the left - to hear calls for greater job security.

In Moscow, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov led a crowd of 15,000 people to pay homage to a statue of Karl Marx.

In Ukraine demonstrations in several cities underlined the continuing strength of support for the Communist Party, which last week used its dominance in parliament to topple a reformist prime minister.

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30 Apr 01 | Europe
Neo-Nazis on the rise in Germany
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