Southern Cone: May Day marches focus on local issues

Latin Americans generally used the traditional International Workers Day marches on May 1 this year to protest around national issues, but some also demonstrated their support for immigrants in the US—where tens of thousands of immigrants and supporters were marching against anti-immigrant measures and laws.

At least 66 people were arrested in disturbances in Chile on May 1 as marchers protested the policies of President Sebastián Piñera, who took office on March 11. Piñera is the country’s first rightwing leader since the end of the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

In Paraguay labor confederations started the day of events with a mass in Asunción’s Cristo Rey church. Unionists then marched to the Justice and Labor Ministry, where they presented Justice and Labor Minister Humberto Blasco with a petition calling for a 15% pay increase.

Brazil‘s president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva used May Day events to promote the campaign of his former cabinet chief, Dilma Rousseff, the Workers Party (PT) presidential candidate in elections this October. “You know who I want,” Lula said during an event in Sao Paulo. (El Nuevo Diario, Nicaragua, May 1 from AFP; Prensa Gráfica, El Salvador, May 1 from AFP)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, May 2.

See our last post on this year’s May Day mobilization in Latin America, and last year’s.