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In pictures: Workers of the world mark a sombre Labour Day as Covid-19 curbs demos

May Day carries extra significance this year after the epidemic put unprecedented numbers of people out of work.

Updated May 01, 2020

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

The traditional festival of the workers' movement attracts millions of people annually to loud and boisterous marches, and occasional violent confrontations with police.

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

May Day carries extra significance this year after the epidemic sent the global economy into a tailspin, put unprecedented numbers of people out of work, and cast some of the world's lower paid workers — nurses, garbage collectors, shop tellers and delivery drivers — in the role of modern-day heroes.

Labour union workers maintain social distancing as they carry placards during a May Day rally in Karachi on May 1. — AFP
Labour union workers maintain social distancing as they carry placards during a May Day rally in Karachi on May 1. — AFP

Labourers ride on their donkeys on a street during the International Labour Day in Lahore. — AFP
Labourers ride on their donkeys on a street during the International Labour Day in Lahore. — AFP

Labour union workers maintain social distancing as they carry placards during a May Day rally in Karachi on May 1. — AFP
Labour union workers maintain social distancing as they carry placards during a May Day rally in Karachi on May 1. — AFP

Labour union workers wearing facemasks chant slogans during a May Day rally in Quetta. — AFP
Labour union workers wearing facemasks chant slogans during a May Day rally in Quetta. — AFP

A labourer sits on a cart in a street with closed shops near the main market on Labour Day, during a curfew amid concerns about the spread of Covid-19 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. — Reuters
A labourer sits on a cart in a street with closed shops near the main market on Labour Day, during a curfew amid concerns about the spread of Covid-19 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. — Reuters

Doctors attend the Labour Day demonstration in Athens, Greece amid the country's lockdown to stem the spread of the Covid-19. — AFP
Doctors attend the Labour Day demonstration in Athens, Greece amid the country's lockdown to stem the spread of the Covid-19. — AFP

A labourer sleeps on a pushcart on Labour Day in Dhaka, Bangladesh. — AFP
A labourer sleeps on a pushcart on Labour Day in Dhaka, Bangladesh. — AFP

Nurses wearing protective face masks hold crosses during a symbolic protest and tribute for health workers on Labour Day in Brasilia, Brazil. — Reuters
Nurses wearing protective face masks hold crosses during a symbolic protest and tribute for health workers on Labour Day in Brasilia, Brazil. — Reuters

A woman collects vegetables thrown away by vendors on Labour Day at a wholesale vegetable market in Hyderabad, India. — AFP
A woman collects vegetables thrown away by vendors on Labour Day at a wholesale vegetable market in Hyderabad, India. — AFP

Lebanese left-wing anti-government protesters face-off with security forces outside the headquarters of the central bank, during a protest marking International Workers' Day (Labour Day) in the capital Beirut. — AFP
Lebanese left-wing anti-government protesters face-off with security forces outside the headquarters of the central bank, during a protest marking International Workers' Day (Labour Day) in the capital Beirut. — AFP

Members of the Greek Labour Union (PAME), wearing protective masks and respecting the social distances against the spread of Covid-19, protest in front of the Greek Parliament during the Labour Day demonstration in Athens. — AFP
Members of the Greek Labour Union (PAME), wearing protective masks and respecting the social distances against the spread of Covid-19, protest in front of the Greek Parliament during the Labour Day demonstration in Athens. — AFP

A labourer sleeps near empty water bottles on Labour Day in Dhaka, Bangladesh. — AFP
A labourer sleeps near empty water bottles on Labour Day in Dhaka, Bangladesh. — AFP

A migrant labourer paints white road markings on Labour Day in Srinagar, Indian-occupied Kashmir. — AFP
A migrant labourer paints white road markings on Labour Day in Srinagar, Indian-occupied Kashmir. — AFP

A labourer carries a sack of vegetables at a wholesale market on Labour Day in Srinagar, Indian-occupied Kashmir. — AFP
A labourer carries a sack of vegetables at a wholesale market on Labour Day in Srinagar, Indian-occupied Kashmir. — AFP


Header image: Labourers load sacks of wheat grains onto a truck on International Labour Day at a railway station in Amritsar, India on May 1. — AFP