Istanbul -  Workers and activists on Tuesday May Day with rallies to demand their governments address labour issues.

International Workers’ Day is a public holiday in many countries, though activities are restricted in some places, sometimes leading to confrontations.

Istanbul police detained more than 80 people and placed a security lockdown on the city as the Turkish metropolis marked a tense May Day.

The annual workers’ holiday has traditionally been a place for confrontation between protesters and police but in recent years the authorities have left nothing to chance by entirely barring access to key protest areas.

The central Taksim Square was entirely barricaded off by police, with images taken from the air showing the usually thronged urban space deserted apart from officers.

Authorities also barred access to the city’s main shopping street, the pedestrianised Istiklal Avenue, which has in the past been the scene of protest marches.

Almost all shops and cinemas were closed and boarded up the length of the street, with the public only set to be allowed through in the evening, an AFP photographer said. Only police officers could be seen strolling down the eerily deserted thoroughfare.

Protesters seeking to defy the ban on demonstrations in Taksim by marching towards the square were roughly arrested, with police pinning detainees to the ground, an AFP photographer said.

In total, police arrested 84 people in Istanbul, Istanbul police said, with most of the detentions coming in the Besiktas area. They were taken away in buses for questioning.

Meanwhile, thousands of people took part in officially-sanctioned May 1 events in the Istanbul district of Maltepe at a vast meeting area specially designated by the authorities to host the May 1 marches.

Political tensions are high in Turkey as the country prepares for snap parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be seeking a second term as head of state and a thumping parliamentary majority.

Anti-capitalist protesters torched a McDonald’s restaurant and clashed with police in Paris on the fringes of a May Day rally in Paris. Shouting slogans such as “Rise up, Paris” and “Everyone hates the police”, over 1,000 youths with black jackets and face masks joined the traditional union-led demonstration for worker’s rights, AFP journalists reported. Iranian security forces arrested six people in Tehran on Tuesday during an unauthorised demonstration by workers to mark May Day, the ILNA news agency reported. It said a “large number of workers” including teachers had gathered in central Tehran to protest against a ban by authorities preventing them from rallying to mark the international labour day which is not an official holiday in Iran.

The demonstrators also wanted to press their demands, it said without elaborating.  ILNA quoted a security source as saying the people arrested were “only those who wanted to cause trouble”.

Thousands of workers marched in Labour Day rallies in Manila Tuesday, using burning effigies and chants to voice anger over Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic policies. Waving red flags, unions zeroed in on what they say is a broken campaign promise from Duterte to get rid of short-term employment contracts, which deprive workers of better benefits and pay.

“We were taken for a ride,” the Workers Party said in a Labour Day statement as it vowed to continue fighting against the practice.

A giant demon in the role of Duterte was hauled by the protesters to the street fronting the presidential palace and torched.

Police said some 5,500 people attended the marches and that the events were “generally peaceful”.

The protests came despite Duterte announcing, in a Labour Day ceremony in the central Philippines, that he had signed an order strengthening regulations against short-term contracts.

Duterte insisted he could not do more as this would require the legislature to revise labour laws.

“I remain firm in my commitment to put an end to... illegal” contracts, the president said.