Two union federations -- the Federation of Independent Trade Unions (NHS) and the Independent Croatian Trade Unions (SSSH) - organised a celebration of May Day, International Workers' Day, in Zagreb's Maksimir Park on Sunday under the slogan "People before profit!"

The leaders of the two union federations addressed those present, calling for the preservation of workers' rights.

NHS president Kresimir Sever said unions showed they cared that workers are placed before profit, because profit cannot come before a human being and a worker generating it.

"We want people to see their future in Croatia and to have adequate salaries and pensions and young people to have jobs," Sever said. "We want Croatia in which a human being will come before profit," he underscored.

SSSH president Mladen Novosel said his union federation wanted to stop poverty and fight for the dignity of every human being.

Despite the rain, the event in Maksimir was attended by more than 2,000 people.

The event was also addressed by Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic.

Several trade unions organised a protest walk in downtown Zagreb, calling for a general strike, The unionists said workers rights were threatened in Croatia, adding that the country was on the verge of poverty.

The date May 1 was chosen for International Workers' Day to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886. 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 protesters.

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