Hundreds of thousands of union members and labour activists have rallied around the world to mark May Day.

The tradition of May Day marches for workers’ rights began in the United States in the 1880s and quickly spread to other countries at a time when industrialisation pitted poorly paid employees against increasingly dominant factory employers and landowners.

Over the decades, the May Day protests have also become an opportunity to air general economic grievances or political demands.

Hong Kong May Day
Migrant workers march during a rally to mark May Day in Hong Kong (Kin Cheung/AP)
South Africa May Day
Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters party, Julius Malema, addresses supporters at a May Day Rally in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, South Africa (Mujahid Safodien/AP)
Italy May Day
Demonstrators confront police officers as scuffles broke out during a May Day rally in Turin, Italy (Alessandro Di Marco/AP)
Greece May Day
Protesters sing during a rally organised by the Communist-affiliated PAME labour union outside the Greek parliament, in central Athens (Petros Giannakouris/AP)
France May Day
Activists make their way through tear gas during a May Day demonstration in Paris (Francois Mori/AP)
Iraq May Day
An Iraqi man holds a portrait of Karl Marx (Khalid Mohammed/AP)
Sri Lanka Labor Day
A supporter of Sri Lanka’s Frontline Socialist Party holds a flag in Colombo (Eranga Jayawardena/AP)
Spain May Day
Workers near city hall during the May Day rally in Madrid, Spain (Paul White/PA)
Germany May Day
Protesters dressed as clowns talk to police at a May Day demonstration against racism in Chemnitz, Germany (Hendrik Schmidt/AP)
Russia May Day
Balloons and flags fly over the crowd as people prepare to walk on Red Square in Moscow (Pael Golovkin/AP)
Indonesia May Day
Workers shout slogans during a May Day rally in Jakarta, Indonesia (Achmad Ibrahim/AP)
Turkey May Day
Turkish police officers arrest a demonstrator during May Day protests (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)
Cambodia May Day
Cambodian workers march as they gather to mark May Day (Heng Sinith/AP)