May Day is a public holiday in Libya that occurs every year on 1 May. In other parts of the world it is also called Labour Day or International Workers’ Day.
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This is a very important day for workers of all occupations in Libya, and it is an off-work day for the whole population.
The origin of the holiday is the 4 May 1886 Haymarket Massacre during a labour protest in Chicago, USA. As the world industrialised in the mid to late 1800’s, the dismal working conditions in many factories led to a protest movement.
The Haymarket Massacre became a key moment in the movement, leading to the establishment of Labour Day, then called “International Workers Day”, to demand things like an 8-hour work day, safer working conditions, and increased pay.
Labour Day globally has lost some of its political associations since the end of the Cold War, and today, most Libyans celebrate it simply as a pro-work and pro-worker day off work.
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