in istanbul, police tried to prevent a traditional march, and thousands of people ended up in running battles.
in seattle too there was trouble when police tried to clear an 'unauthorised' gathering
in santiago, there were over 100 arrests as police clashed with more than 100,000 protestors
thousands marched in madrid, moscow, athens, berlin, copenhagen, new york, washington, montreal, caracas, lagos, tunis, cairo, marrakesh, baghdad, tel aviv, gaza, hong kong, seoul, taipei, and hundreds more cities across the world.
while around the globe a strong anti-capitalist sentiment flourished, london hosted the quietest mayday i've seen for a long time.
given the current regime's savage cuts, rewards for the rich, and utter lawlessness, i found this both surprising and depressing. seems like the boiling frogs approach is working (if you put a frog in boiling water it'll jump out, but if you heat it up slowly it won't notice until it's too late).
the traditional union march was attended by a couple of thousand with the most colourful and noisiest factions being the european and especially turkish contingents. there was also a small contingent of anarchists.
by about 3pm speeches were being delivered to a sparse audience in trfalgar square, while the anarchists had set off on a few impromptu visits to clothes shops in regent street and oxford street, in solidarity with exploited bangladeshi garment workers.
i caught up with them at a primark store near tottenham court road. with just 2 or 3 dozen noisy protestors chanting outside, police kept guard and kept the shops open.
as well as several riot vans, cops from both met and city police, and an unwelcome intrusion of baby-blue tabarded 'liaison officers' fishing for intelligence, there were plenty more police parked up in back streets. in all, protestors were outnumbered several times over by police.
it was heartening to see that the protestors were canny about the PLO (liaison officers). when the blues arrived i overheard them getting briefed by cops on the ground as to who might be the 'leader' of the group, after which they sauntered in to try to speak to them, but everyone started shouting protest slogans and completely ignoring them, so they had to retreat - result, a failed intelligence exercise. FITwatch have long recommended that PLOs are treated they way FIT used to be (since essentially they are one and the same thing). all too often i've seen this advice ignored. great to see it in action on wednesday.
later in the day, despite a mysterious viral campaign which might have attracted interest from those wanting to mark mayday in a mischievous manner, the space hijackers' "emergent service workers party" outside a google office in central london only drew in a few dozen party people, who basically took the piss out of google, with paper 'google glasses', fencing torunaments with computer keyboards, a maypole dance around a hi-tech pole, and some great tunes from a loud bicycle sound system.
the party was watched by local security, but the police were noticeably absent, and it ran out of steam naturally by around 10pm.
for occasional live reports from london actions, follow @indyrikki