ISTANBUL - Clashes with riot police were reported Monday as labourers and their representatives took out protest rallies across the world on May Day.

Turkish police fired tear gas and plastic bullets at protesters seeking to march to Istanbul’s Taksim Square to celebrate May Day, in defiance of an official ban.

Authorities said more than 200 people were detained for “illegal” protests in the city and using May Day celebrations as a “pretext”.

Police tried to stop around 200 protesters in the Gayrettepe district on the European side of Istanbul who wanted to walk to the famous Taksim square in spite of the ban by city authorities, an AFP journalist said.

The protesters - made up of left-wing groups - unfurled anti-government banners against the result of the April 16 referendum, which handed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expanded powers. “Long Live May Day, No to dictator!” the banners read.

In United States, labour unions and immigrant advocacy groups will lead May Day rallies in cities across the United States on Monday, with organizers expecting larger-than-usual turnouts to protest the immigration policies of President Donald Trump.

The demonstrations could be the largest by immigrants since Trump’s inauguration on January 20, activists say, and some immigrant-run businesses plan to shut down for some or all of the day to protest the administration’s crackdown on immigrants living in the country illegally.

“To me, it’s offensive the policies this president is trying to implement,” said Jaime Contreras, vice president of the Service Employees International Union’s 32BJ affiliate, which represents cleaners and other property service workers in 11 states.

“It’s a nation of immigrants, and separating immigrant families because of their immigration status, it goes against what we love about this wonderful country.”

May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, has typically been a quieter affair in the United States than in Europe, where it is a public holiday in many countries.

In France, one police officer was seriously burnt and two others injured in clashes at a May Day demonstration in Paris on Monday in which protesters threw Molotov cocktails and other missiles, the police said.

Television pictures showed policemen trying to shake flames from their riot gear, and of tear gas enveloping the streets around Paris’ Bastille monument.

South African President Jacob Zuma made a hasty exit from a May Day rally on Monday after the crowd of workers that he was due to address became rowdy, with some booing and chanting slogans against him.

The labour federation Cosatu abruptly cancelled Zuma’s speech and other addresses at the rally it had organised, as TV footage showed scuffles breaking out in the crowd, apparently between supporters who voiced their backing of Zuma and opponents of the president.

Zuma and his entourage could be seen on live TV leaving the podium and being whisked away from the rally, in the central city of Bloemfontein, in a motorcade.

Greek trade unions marked May Day on Monday with a 24-hour nationwide strike and protests against looming new cuts demanded by the country’s creditors in return for bailout cash. Some 10,000 people demonstrated in Athens while another 3,500 marched in Thessaloniki, police said.

The Cuban government’s traditional May Day parade Monday is the last to be overseen by President Raul Castro - and the first without his late brother and revolutionary predecessor Fidel.

The May 1 rally draws hundreds of thousands of Cubans into Havana’s Revolution Square in a sea of red, white and blue national flags and portraits of Fidel Castro.

But he died in November and Raul Castro, after just over a decade in power, has said he will step aside in February 2018.

Raul Castro has been cautiously opening up Cuba’s state-run economy and strengthening its foreign relations - notably by re-establishing diplomatic ties with the United States. But Monday’s parade has the feel of the end of an era. It is not clear who will take Castro’s place next year.