Thousands of people take part in May 1 demonstrations in Berlin and Hamburg

Thousands of people took part in left-wing demonstrations in Berlin, Hamburg and other German cities on Wednesday to mark International Workers’ Day.

The traditional rally of workers and activists was held this year against a backdrop of tensions over the war in Gaza.

Germany has banned or restricted pro-Palestinian demonstrations for the past seven months, citing concerns that they could incite hatred and anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Police said a demonstration organized by the German Trade Union Confederation in Berlin was temporarily suspended due to repeated pro-Palestinian chants and banners.

There was a large police presence at the rallies, many of which were organized by trade unions to demand social justice and greater rights for workers.

Berlin police said 5,600 police officers were present at a total of 19 rallies. There were no reports of major violence by Wednesday evening.

Water cannons, helicopters and light masts to illuminate the streets were also on standby in case the situation got out of control in the evening.

But there was a cheerful atmosphere in the Kreuzberg district, a traditional stronghold of the German capital’s radical and underground culture.

Even if they weren’t marching, many people were simply partying, playing music, and wandering through parks and public squares with drinks in hand.

In the southwestern city of Stuttgart, a left-wing demonstration in the city center was dispersed after an attack on a police officer. Police responded with pepper spray and batons.

Police said the demonstration was organized by individuals “against social welfare cuts” and calling for a “society based on solidarity.”

In the northern port city of Hamburg, more than 6,000 people took to the streets in various demonstrations by left-wing and anarchist groups. Parts of the march passed through the upscale districts of Havestehude and Pesseldorf, and included calls for wealth redistribution.

People holding banners with slogans "Push shift back to the right - don't stay like this." Between "Revolutionary May 1st demonstration" Demo hosted by Roter Aufbau (Red Reconstruction). Axel Heimken/dpa

People hold up banners with the slogan “Push back the rightward movement – we can’t go on like this” during the “Revolutionary May 1” demonstration organized by Lothar Aufbau (Red Revival). Axel Heimken/dpa

People hold posters in the style of the Palestinian flag with slogans written on them. "war and war".under the slogan "War, crisis, capitalism, we can't continue like this." Between "Revolutionary May 1st demonstration" Demo hosted by Roter Aufbau (Red Reconstruction). Axel Heimken/dpaPeople hold posters in the style of the Palestinian flag with slogans written on them. "war and war".under the slogan "War, crisis, capitalism, we can't continue like this." Between "Revolutionary May 1st demonstration" Demo hosted by Roter Aufbau (Red Reconstruction). Axel Heimken/dpa

People hold up posters in the style of the Palestinian flag with the slogan “War for War”. The “Revolutionary May 1st” demonstration, organized by Lothar Aufbau (Red Revival), was held under the slogan “War, crisis, capitalism, we cannot continue as we are.” Axel Heimken/dpa

people hold up banners with words on them "war and war" Between "revolutionary mayday demonstration". Sebastian Gornau/DPApeople hold up banners with words on them "war and war" Between "revolutionary mayday demonstration". Sebastian Gornau/DPA

People hold up banners reading “War for War” during the “Revolutionary May Day Demonstration.” Sebastian Gornau/DPA

people hold up banners with words on them "war and war" and in the meantime let off fireworks "revolutionary mayday demonstration". Sebastian Gornau/DPApeople hold up banners with words on them "war and war" and in the meantime let off fireworks "revolutionary mayday demonstration". Sebastian Gornau/DPA

During the “Revolutionary May Day Demonstration,” people held up banners that read “War for War” and set off fireworks. Sebastian Gornau/DPA

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