Millions of workers around the world marked May Day with parades, pageantry and protests Monday while communist giants China and the Soviet Union issued pleas for an end to political and social unrest.
More than 150,000 people waving red banners, balloons, flags and flowers marched through Moscow's Red Square in a colorful display of international solidarity among workers.With Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and other members of the ruling Politburo atop Lenin's tomb, waves of workers and school children paraded past in a demonstration in praise of work and the Communist Party.
The two-hour parade wound up with gymnasts gyrating to blaring rock music under a giant new poster depicting gentler-looking fathers of communism - Marx, Engels and Lenin - draped across the Gum department store flanking the square. Similar marches took place in virtually every major town and city across the Soviet Union and in scores of other countries around the world.
The Communist Party daily newspaper Pravda marked the day with a call for an end to ethnic divisions in the Soviet Union that have led to recent violent clashes in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
U.S. Ambassador Jack Matlock, taking snapshots of the parade from the diplomatic stand, said, "It was a more relaxed parade this year. It stressed internal affairs."
In its May Day editorial, Pravda said the celebrations should remind all Soviets of the need to continue to work together to find a solution to the nationalities problem.
In the Chinese capital, authorities issued a May Day appeal urging workers to support stability in the face of two weeks of student unrest and asking them to be patient with the serious problems arising from the nation's economic reforms.
Hu Qili, one of the five members of the powerful Communist Party Politburo, told a meeting of 2,000 workers that the reforms would "achieve nothing if social stability is not guaranteed."
The Communist Party newspaper People's Daily echoed Hu's comments and sympathized with workers' complaints about soaring inflation and widening income gaps that have sprung from economic reforms launched by senior leader Deng Xiaoping in 1979.
May Day rallies turned into riots Monday in Turkey, South Korea and the Philippines, and dozens of marchers were arrested in Czechoslovakia. In Poland, anti-government protesters clashed with police in Wroclaw and Gdansk.
In Turkey, one person was fatally shot in the head and 15 injured in battles with security forces during outlawed marches in Istanbul, the Anatolia news agency reported.
In the Philippines, baton-wielding police fired tear gas to break up crowds trying to march to the U.S. Embassy in Manila after a rally in which union leaders threatened a nationwide strike to press for a higher minimum wage.