Tens of thousands of Solidarity supporters shouted "Down with communism!" and turned a May Day march into a rally for union-backed candidates in the coming National Assembly elections.
"We have been walking to this rally for eight years, but we finally made it," said Maciej Jankowski, a Solidarity activist from Warsaw University. "Today has shown how many we are, but we can't just be strong on holidays."Like the Solidarity supporters reveling in their movement's reinstatement after a seven-year ban and government concessions including a promise of free elections, thousands of workers around the world gathered Monday on the international labor day to celebrate gains or demonstrate for change.
The Soviet Union held a traditional parade through Red Square, and China's leaders used speeches and editorials to urge social stability in the face of student protests for democratic reforms.
But in South Korea, rallies became riots. Police also clashed with demonstrators in two Polish cities as well as in Turkey, the Philippines and Czechoslovakia.
Up to 100,000 union supporters filled a field at the foot of Warsaw's Old Town to hear city Solidarity leader Zbigniew Bujak present the union movement's candidates for the June elections to the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, and the Senate.
Popular actor Andrzej Lapicki, a Sejm candidate, drew a roar of approval when he said: "I am sure in voting for me, you are voting for Solidarity."
But, he added, "If you don't vote out of laziness, you are making the Communists happy."
Authorities scaled back official celebrations.
Communist Party leader Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski told about 20,000 loyalists gathered at Victory Square that socialism was returning to its "purest values" thanks to party-backed reforms.
Solidarity, banned after the martial-law crackdown in December 1981, was legalized April 5 under an pact in which authorities agreed to at least partially share power with the opposition in the first such arrangement in the Soviet bloc.
In at least two cities, police used force to break up rallies by militant Solidarity splinter groups. Police attacked protesters in the Baltic port of Gdansk and used tear gas and clubs against stone-throwing youths in the southern city of Wroclaw, activists said.
Riot police in South Korea fired tear gas in a battle with about 5,000 striking workers in Masan and nearby Changwon after protesters tried to stage a May Day rally, police said. About 200 workers were arrested.
In the Philippines, police swung truncheons and fired tear gas to break up crowds marching 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.
In Czechoslovakia, at least 76 people were arrested for taking part in anti-government protests during the official May Day parade in Prague.
In the Soviet Union, an activist in the Soviet republic of Armenia said residents in the capital, Yerevan, defied a ban and held a large, peaceful rally. May Day celebrations were banned in Yerevan and Tbilisi, capital of Soviet Georgia, because of recent pro-independence unrest in the cities.
In Turkey, 36 people were injured, including eight by gunfire, in battles with security forces during outlawed May Day marches in Istanbul, the Anatolia news agency reported. Officials banned the holiday because they said it was a Marxist tradition.
In West Berlin, police used water cannon, tear gas and truncheons against at least 2,000 protesters who hurled fire bombs, looted stores and smashed windows in violent skirmishes.
In communist East Berlin, at least five dissidents were arrested for staging demonstrations alongside official celebrations, opposition sources said.
More than 50,000 people demonstrated in six cities in Honduras and burned U.S. flags to protest the American military presence in the country and Washington's support for the Nicaraguan rebels.