Rabat – Morocco’s government announced, on April 27, its decision to ban all Labor Day celebrations on May 1, to avoid any possible violations of the country’s state of emergency measures.
In a press release, the government suggested that the decision comes after citizen’s called to publicly gather and celebrate May 1 in a “face-to-face” on a public highway, which would break COVID-19 preventive measures.
The evolution of the epidemiological situation in the country was another cause for concern, especially in the context of the risks that come with large public gatherings, noted the government.
Lastly, the government praised the “spirit of responsibility,” and Morocco’s trade union’s “strong involvement” in overcoming the negative consequences of the pandemic. Nonetheless, the Moroccan government urged the populace to continue to respect the guidelines and measures that the authorities have put in place, to maintain the “positive results” of Morocco’s efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Read also: How Workers Are Celebrating Labor Day Pandemic Style
In most countries, Labour Day is either synonymous with, or at the least linked with International Workers’ Day, celebrated on May 1. Traditionally, the celebration has its origins in the labor union movement, in particular, the eight-hour day movement. The eight-hour day campaign called to ensure that workers get eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.
One of the first instances of labor activism that linked the eight-hour day movement with Labor Day was on April 21, 1856, when Australian stonemasons in the state of Victoria participated in a mass work stoppage, which became a yearly commemoration. This in turn inspired the US workers to do the same and to partake in their first labor stoppages.
It is widely accepted that May 1 was chosen as the International Workers’ Day in order to commemorate the 1886 Haymarket riot in Chicago, US, a peaceful workers strike that escalated into police violence. For the same reason, the US celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of every September, in order to distance the celebration from the Haymarket affair.