May Day demonstrations have begun across Asia. Workers and activists mark the day with rallies to demand that their governments address labor issues.
May Day highlights the plight of laborers and other blue-collar workers on May 1 each year. The rallies observe International Workers' Day, also known as Labor Day or Workers' Day, which is a public holiday in many countries.
Some 5,000 people gathered in Manila, near the presidential palace, to urge Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to fulfill a campaign promise to end the practice of short-term employment, low wages, overall unemployment and trade union supression.
The Seoul rally – which officials estimated had a crowd of over 10,000 people – had protesters chanting slogans against the current minimum wage rate. The marchers, who were cued by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, are demanding a minimum of US$9.34 hourly as well as the formalizing of irregular employees.
Union members also demand that the government scrap the restructuring of the shipbuilding and automobile industries.
Thousands of workers demonstrated near the presidential palace in Jakarta to urged the government to avoid outsourcing as well as raise wages. The crowd grew to about 10,000 strong. The protesters are pushing for the authorities to address the unemployment rate of the nationals against foreign-distributed jobs.
Some 2,000 workers gathered in Phnom Penh, organized by a garment union coalition.
Riot police were dispatched to prevent the workers from marching on the National Assembly to air their labor-related concerns.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hun Sun announced to a group of 5,000 garment workers, outside the capital, that they will each receive US$12.50.
The national festival of Vesak, which will spill over to May 2, has caused the Sri Lankan Government to officially push back May Day activities to May 7. Some activists have vowed to ignore the edict and go ahead with planned marches.
Vesak or Buddha Purnima marks the enlightenment of Lord Buddha.