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Civil Unrest in Europe for May 1st

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Labor unions will commemorate May Day (International Workers Day) throughout Europe, on May 1st. While these events are generally peaceful, we are entering 2014 and at a minimum low-level violence is expected beginning late April 30. Attacks on police and acts of vandalism, by certain groups, are a May Day tradition in many European cities. Protests associated with the holiday usually occur in the central areas of major cities.

Some events are listed below, along with venues that are more likely to see low-level violence:

  • Czech Republic: Unions are planning to hold a large demonstration in Prague at namesti Kinskych beginning at 1300 before proceeding to Karlovo namesti (Charles Square). Opposition groups could also rally in towns across the country.
  • France: France’s largest unions are calling for demonstrations in major cities across the country; thousands of protesters will likely take to the streets. In Paris, demonstrators will assemble at 1500 at Place de la Bastille and march to the Place de la Nation.
  • Germany: Labor unions are planning demonstrations in every major city across the country, with the largest actions to take place in Berlin beginning April 30. Extremists groups will stage events which will also take place nationwide, likely in the Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, and Koepenick districts of Berlin starting late April 30. Around 20 different protest actions are expected throughout May 1.
  • Greece: Activists will rally in Athens in Syntagma Square beginning at 1000.
  • Italy: Trade unions have organized a large event in Rome at Piazza San Giovanni that is likely to attract thousands of participants.
  • Portugal: Unions will stage rallies in major cities nationwide. In Lisbon, activists will rally in Alameda D. Afonso Henriques beginning at 1430.
  • Spain: Trade unions will likely stage a multitude of events nationwide; one of the largest will occur in Bilbao, where activists will stage a mass rally in Plaza del Sagrado Corazon. Low-level clashes between protesters and police are possible.
  • Turkey: Labor unions have called for a mass rally in Taksim Square, Istanbul; however, government officials have banned all protests in Taksim Square on May 1. Expect clashes if activists defy the protest ban.
  • United Kingdom: A march and rally is slated to begin at 1200 at Clerkenwell Green, London, and then head toward Trafalgar Square.

Police presence will be increased to the highest level and traffic disruptions are likely near the protest sites. This will be interesting this year given the turning in the Cycle of War.