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International Workers' Day is a celebration of labour and the working classes that is promoted by international labour movement and that occurs on May 1 every year. That day, May 1, is also the traditional European Spring holiday of May Day. Therefore, May 1 is a national public holiday in more than 80 countries, but in only some of those countries is the public holiday officially known as Labor Day or some similar variant. In the other countries, the public holiday marks the Spring festival of May Day.
Further, still other countries celebrate a Labour Day unrelated to International Workers' Day and on other dates significant to the labour movement in that country, such as the Labor Day in the United States which is on the first Monday of September.
nternational Workers' Day is the commemoration of the May 4, 1886Haymarket affair in Chicago. The police were trying to disperse a public assembly during a general strike for the eight-hour workday, when an unidentified person threw a bomb at the police. The police responded by firing on the workers, killing four demonstrators. "Reliable witnesses testified that all the pistol flashes came from the center of the street, where the police were standing, and none from the crowd. Moreover, initial newspaper reports made no mention of firing by civilians. A telegraph pole at the scene was filled with bullet holes, all coming from the direction of the police."
Subsequently, the May Day Riots of 1894 occurred. In 1904, the International Socialist Conference meeting in Amsterdam called on "all Social Democratic Party organizations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on May First for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace." The congress made it "mandatory upon the proletarian organizations of all countries to stop work on May 1, wherever it is possible without injury to the workers."
In the United States and Canada, the official holiday for workers is Labor Dayin September. A September holiday was first proposed for the United States in the 1880s, before the Haymarket affair. Groups in Canada were already celebrating a Labour Day. In 1887, Oregon was the first state to make it a public holiday. By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day. After the Haymarket affair, US PresidentGrover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Thus, in 1887, it was established as an official holiday in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.