Workers and activists rally across the globe on May Day

Thousands take part in rallies on international labour day to call for better, fairer and safer employment conditions.

    Hundreds of thousands of people took part in rallies across the world to urge their governments to adopt major international regulations on promoting labour rights.

    Each year, people take to the streets on May 1 to mark International Workers' Day, or May Day.

    Thousands attended a march in the Panamanian capital on Wednesday, attended by dozens of public and private sector unions.

    "This is so important," Angela Abrego, a union women's group organiser from the Bocas del Toro region, told Al Jazeera.

    "This way we can see that we are united."

    Key candidates from the small left-wing Broad Front for Democracy party also participated in the march [Sandra Cuffe/Al Jazeera]

    In the Venezuelan capital Caracas, clashes broke out as rival pro- and anti-government marches began.

    National Guard troops fired tear gas at protesters attempting to block a highway close to an airbase where opposition leader Juan Guaido tried on Tuesday to ignite a military uprising against President Nicolas Maduro.

    Across the world, May 1 is traditionally marked with strikes, parades and occasionally violent protests [Daniel Blanco/Anadolu]

    In Guatemala's second-largest city Quetzaltenango, hundreds of rural and urban residents began an eight-day march towards the capital, marching in rejection of political corruption and what they refer to as criminal organisations that have infiltrated the government. 

    Protesters marched on the capital, Guatemala City, demanding dignity, justice and life [Jeff Abbott/Al Jazeera]

    In France, tens of thousands of labour union and "yellow vest" protesters were on the streets, days after President Emmanual Macron outlined a response to months of street protests, including tax cuts worth about five billion euros ($5.6bn).

    Clusters of people wearing the black hoods and masks of modern-day anarchists pelted riot police in Paris with rocks and set rubbish bins on fire while darting in and out of a May Day march.

    France deployed some 7,400 officers to protect the capital and made 200 arrests.

    Riot police used tear gas and water cannon, and charged sporadically at several points along the traditional rally to disperse groups of masked protesters [Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu]

    In Turkey, police said they detained 137 people in Istanbul for trying to hold illegal demonstrations in various parts of the city.

    Police had cordoned off Istanbul's central Taksim Square, but small groups of demonstrators converged there anyway.

    "Squares belong to the people, they cannot be closed off. Long live May 1!" protesters shouted as police hauled them away, covering their mouths.

    Demonstrators raise their fists during a May Day rally in Istanbul [Kemal Aslan/Reuters]

    In the South Korean capital Seoul, organisers told Al Jazeera about 27,000 people took part in a rally, while another 57,000 demonstrated in 13 cities across the country.

    Protesters wore banner hats reading: 'Ratify the ILO's core conventions' [Sookyoung Lee/Al Jazeera]

    In Russia, riot police and national guardsmen detained more than 100 people, sometimes using extreme force to take into custody anti-government activists, witnesses and a rights monitoring group said.

    Some protesters carried banners saying "For fair elections" and "Petersburg against United Russia," a reference to Russia's ruling party that supports President Vladimir Putin.

    Several people carrying banners declaring "Putin is not eternal" were also detained, Russian media reported.

    Supporters of the Russian Communist party took part in a May Day rally in Krasnoyarsk [Ilya Naymushin/Reuters]

    Pope Francis offered a May Day prayer for people experiencing the "global tragedy" of unemployment.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies