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May Day rallies take place across the world

Protests and rallies have been held to mark May Day, also known as International Workers Day. In Germany, trade unions condemned xenophobia at a traditional rally in the southwestern city of Stuttgart.

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Workers of the world rally on May Day

Trade unions and other groups on Sunday staged rallies and other events to celebrate International Workers Day, which was instigated in the US city of Chicago in 1886 by a union seeking an eight-hour work day and is now marked throughout the world.

In Germany, the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) spoke out against racism and right-wing extremism at its traditional yearly event in Stuttgart.

"The demands of right-wing extremists have nothing to do with social cohesion, social justice, fair globalization or solidarity," DGB leader Reiner Hoffmann said.

Deutschland Stuttgart DGB Kundgebung

Police were much in evidence at the Stuttgart rally

Among other things, he criticized the populist

Alternative for Germany (AfD) party,

which is holding a congress in the same city, for its anti-refugee stance. The DGB rally also slammed the abuse of temporary work contracts by employers.

Only minor scuffles were reported at the rally.

Later in the day, tens of thousands of people were expected to attend an annual street party and "Revolutionary May 1 Demonstration" in the traditionally left-wing Berlin district of Kreuzberg. A rally on Saturday evening to protest rising rents in Berlin was reported to have gone off peacefully, but another demonstration in the northern city of Hamburg

saw sporadic violence.

French labor protests

France, where many fear that workers' protections may be under threat from proposed labor reforms, has been seeing a number of protest marches and rallies on Sunday.

The French government is debating a bill that would allow longer working hours and make it easier for companies to fire workers. Critics have called the proposed reforms a gift to corporate interests, and the capital, Paris, has seen weeks of demonstrations that have

occasionally turned violent.

In Russia, by contrast, tens of thousands of people marched across the Red Square in the capital, Moscow, in a pro-Kremlin rally, ignoring the country's falling living standards and focusing instead on issues regarding wages and employment for young professionals.

In both

Turkey

and the Philippines, scuffles broke out between May Day demonstrators and police, while in Taiwan's capital, Taipei, unions marched to call on the government to reduce working hours and increase wages.

tj/rc (AFP, AP, dpa)

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