AP PHOTOS: Workers rule the streets on May Day

For one day, workers ruled the world’s biggest streets.

Thousands strong marched Wednesday to mark May Day, the first day of the month when workers’ rights are celebrated in demonstrations around the globe.

From Seoul to Paris, Istanbul to Berlin, they drew attention to stagnant wages and the high cost of living as they took aim at their governments. In some cases, their governments returned fire.

In Turkey, police in riot gear shot rubber bullets and tear gas at thousands of protesters who clashed with officers as they tried to break through a barricade and reach Istanbul’s Taksim square in defiance of a ban.

Tear gas also rose from the streets of Paris, where workers seeking higher pay and better conditions were joined by others rankled by the upcoming Summer Games. They torched replica Olympic rings.

Standing out in the crowds were the many messages held high on banners or scrawled in pen on simple signs.

“We work to live!!! Not to die!!!” read the sign held by a man in Manila, Philippines. “The rich want war — the youth want a future,” a banner said in Berlin. “Don’t touch the eight-hour workday!” warned a placard in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Thousands of protesters in Seoul sang, waved flags and shouted pro-worker slogans as they stepped up criticism of President Yoon Suk Yeol’s conservative government and its anti-labor policies.

“The lives of our laborers have plunged into despair,” said Yang Kyung-soo, leader of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. “We can’t overlook the Yoon Suk Yeol government. We’ll bring them down from power for ourselves.”

In Jakarta, Indonesia, marchers carried banners and wore slogans on their hats protesting a 2020 law that they said harms worker rights and the environment. Metal workers carried bright red flags and wore darker red headscarves. Others dressed as mimes with frowns painted on their faces.

In Beirut, pro-Palestinian marchers mixed with workers demanding an end to economic misery. Young women supporters of the Lebanese Communist party posed for selfies and flashed victory signs.

Most will return to their jobs Thursday.