Coronavirus News Asia

Pandemic curbs May Day demos

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Workers of the world scaled back their traditional May Day demos Friday with coronavirus lockdowns forcing many to rally online while a determined few hit the streets in face masks.

There were arrests in the Philippines, Russia, Chile and Turkey, a riot in Indonesia and pepper spray in Hong Kong as some broke confinement rules to hold public assemblies.

But from Havana to Helsinki and beyond, most gatherings on this unusual Labor Day were small and without incident.

Cuba’s celebrations were muted after the ruling Communist Party urged people to celebrate at home.

Around a million workers and their families normally take part in the annual May Day march, but on Friday, the iconic image of Che Guevara gazed down on an eerily silent Revolution Square in Havana.

Elsewhere in Latin America, labor unions in Honduras called for an end to the country’s “monstrous corruption” and workers carrying a banner reading “No Quarantine with Hunger” marched on government buildings in Buenos Aires.

In Chile, police arrested dozens after protesters assembled in Santiago’s Plaza Italia in defiance of a prohibition on public gatherings of more than 50 people.

With strict social distancing rules in most countries, many union leaders opted to delay gatherings or move events online because of the Covid-19 outbreak that has killed more than 233,000 people worldwide.

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