Transnational Advocacy NetworksInternational Relations

May Day Celebrations and Protests

Posted on in Transnational Advocacy Networks · International Relations

Around the world, May 1 is recognized as International Workers’ Day or Labor Day. According to Vox, “Workers across the world have been spending May 1 this way for more than a century. Socialists in Europe picked the day to honor laborers killed in the Chicago Haymarket riot of 1886. Workers in the city had gone on strike that year on May 1, demanding an eight-hour workday in the US and across the globe.”

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for May Day Celebrations and Protests


“May Day: Dozens hurt as anarchists, ‘yellow vests’ riot in Paris”

“May Day labor protests around the world, in 17 photos”

“Traditional May Day protests in France become violent riots”

“The origins of May Day”

“March for immigrants’ rights highlights sunny May Day”

“Berlin fears resurgent May Day violence as protests move east”

“May Day, May Day, historic origins forgotten”

“France: Yellow Vests protests significantly reduce current government’s popularity – Analysis”

“No help on May Day, which is also Fed Day”


  • Writing: Why is the first of May celebrated around the world?
  • Debate: Labor unions are the best way to ensure fair wages and labor practices.
  • Poll: Do you have a family member who belongs to a labor union?
  • Short Answer: Why did May Day celebrations lead to protests in France?

Current events quiz:

1) A majority of the recent, violent May Day protests happened in which country?

a. France
b. England
c. United States
d. Germany

2) May Day evolved to be a day to fight for rights for ______.

a. immigrants
b. minorities
c. the poor
d. workers and laborers

3) May Day was originally a day to celebrate the ______.

a. month of May
b. change of seasons
c. government
d. people

4) Along with workers’ rights, the May Day protests also highlighted the fight for immigrants’ rights this year. (T/F)

5) In France, authorities used tear gas to deter the violent protesters. (T/F)

6) 2019 marks the 100th consecutive year of May Day protests. (T/F)


1) A

2) D

3) B

4) T

5) T

6) F

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