Activists Hail Return of Social Justice Movement as Thousands of Israelis Mark May Day

'Today we begin the summer,' leftist MK Dov Khenin tells marchers; far-right MK Michael Ben Ari leads small counter-demonstration.

Activists said Tuesday's May Day rallies in Tel Aviv would be the first of many planned for the summer, as the social justice movement aims to make a comeback.

Around a thousand activists from leftist movements and social organizations marched through Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening to mark the May Day workers' holiday, wearing red shirts and waving red flags. Earlier on Tuesday, thousands of youth group members held a separate march.

May 1 sign - Milrod - 2.5.12
Moti Milrod

"Today we begin the summer," MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) told the marchers. "If we are aiming for social justice, we must create political change. We need a different government in Israel. They have already forgotten the social protest. We haven't forgotten, and we won't forget."

Ahead of the rally, organizers told Haaretz the May Day march would be the "first of the coming summer's wave of demonstrations."

A counter-demonstration was held by some two dozen right wing activists, led by MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union).

May Day events were held in cities around the world on Tuesday.

In the U.S., dozens were arrested at rallies across the country organized by the Occupy movement, including more than 40 in New York.

In Oakland, California, police in riot gear fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters. City officials said marchers had vandalized two banks, a police van and a news vehicle.

Read this article in Hebrew