Two million Russians take part in May Day celebrations

About two million Russians took part in May Day celebrations – the day which is now known in Russia as Spring and Labor Day. The press service of the Russian Interior Ministry said that all publice events in Russia took place without any serious incidents.

May Day festivities took place in 1,057 cities and towns of the country. About two million people participated in meetings and demonstrations across Russia.

Over 103,000 police officers and 5,000 Interior Ministry servicemen went on duty to guarantee the security of public events.

There were no serious incidents reported during the celebrations of the Spring and Labor Day on May 1, Itar-Tass reported.

May Day occurs on May 1 and refers to several public holidays. In many countries, May Day is synonymous with International Workers' Day, or Labor Day, which celebrates the social and economic achievements of the labor movement. As a day of celebration the holiday has ancient origins, and it can relate to many customs that have survived into modern times.

May Day was celebrated illegally in Russia until the February Revolution enabled the first legal celebration in 1917. The following year, after the Bolshevik seizure of power, the May Day celebrations were boycotted by Mensheviks, Left Socialist Revolutionaries and anarchists. It became an important official holiday of the Soviet Union, celebrated with elaborate popular parade in the centre of the major cities. The biggest celebration was traditionally organized on the Red Square, where the General Secretary of the CPSU and other party and government leaders stood atop Lenin's Mausoleum and waved to the crowds. Since 1992, May Day is officially called "The Day of Spring and Labor", and remains a major holiday in the present-day Russia.

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