May day marches in European capitals drew large crowds yesterday as Trade Unionists and political pressure groups took to the streets to voice their political protests.
May day marches in European capitals drew large crowds yesterday as Trade Unionists and political pressure groups took to the streets to voice their political protests. In Athens, the Greek General Labour Confederation organised a mass rally of its members. In West Berlin, West Germany's main trade union held an open meeting which drew large crowds. And in Paris a large Communist Socialist rally highlighted the day.
SYNOPSIS: In Paris, tens of thousands of Communists and Socialists along with official trade union groups, marched through the streets to protest the newly-elected government' austerity measures. The May day -- International Labour Day -- parade was the first big left-wing demonstration since the Communists and Socialists failed in March's general election.
As well as the traditional Trade Unions' May day march there were also political protests from foreigners. A large group of exiled Iranians demonstrated against the Shah's policies at home. And two different groups protested against alleged human right violations in Latin America, drawing specific attention to Argentina, which many Europeans will visit for next month's World Cup finals.
Unlike the Paris demonstrations this mobile cycle demonstration through the streets of West Berlin was non-political. It was organised by a group of environmentalists to protest further development of nuclear weapons.
But elsewhere in the city, West Germany's largest trade union DGB (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund) held a large rally. The rally which included a march to the town hall in Kennedy Place drew a large contingent of vociferous West German Communist Party members who chanted political slogans.
The climax of the organised Trade Union rally took place in Kennedy Square where the DGB leader Herr Walter Sickert addressed his members. Although there were no reports of violence, there were angry scenes when paint was thrown at the speaker, and milling students disrupted his speech.
In Athens, the Greek General Labour Confederation, and the Supreme Council of Civil Servants organised a rally to mark May day. In a major address to his members the General Secretary of the Confederation, Mr. Karakitsos called for better working conditions, an end to rising unemployment, and salary increases to match the rising cost of living in the country. He also stressed the importance of May day for working people all over the world.