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U.S. May Day rallies seek wage parity Some protesters clash with police

Thousands of protesters in New York demanded an end to income inequality and housing foreclosures. Police fired tear gas to disperse marchers in Oakland, Calif. And black-clad demonstrators smashed windows in Seattle.

Activists across the United States joined in worldwide May Day protests Tuesday, with anti-Wall Street demonstrators leading the way in some cities as they tried to recapture the enthusiasm that propelled their movement last fall.

While some protesters clashed with police, the melees were far less violent than ones that erupted last fall when the movement was at its peak.

Many of the rallies, which drew activists pushing a variety of causes, also did not have the same drawing power that gatherings had last year for the Occupy movement or a half-dozen years ago for May Day rallies for immigration reform.

In recent years, activists in the United States used May Day to hold rallies for immigrant rights, but the day has been associated for more than a century with workers' rights and the labor movement both in the United States and elsewhere.

The U.S. protests were the most visible organizing effort by anti-Wall Street groups since the movement's encampments were dismantled last fall.

The major developments include:

* In Oakland, the scene of several violent clashes between activists and police in recent months, the situation threatened to boil over again when police fired tear gas, sending hundreds of demonstrators scrambling.

Officers also fired "flash-bang" grenades to disperse protesters converging on police as they tried to make arrests, police said. Four people were taken into custody.

* In Seattle, black-clad protesters used sticks to smash small downtown windows and ran through the streets disrupting traffic. Police have made at least two arrests.

While much smaller in scale, the mayhem was reminiscent of the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in the city that caused widespread damage to stores and forced the cancellation of some WTO events.

Authorities said many of the most violent protesters were trying to hide in the larger crowd by shedding their all-black clothes.

* In New York, hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters and their supporters spilled out onto Fifth Avenue in a confrontation with police amid citywide May Day protests, while thousands later gathered peacefully in Union Square.

The group had promised the day would mark a spring revival of their movement.

Occupy organizer Mark Bray said the mood had changed since the group's first organized events late last year. "There was a sense of novelty to Occupy in October," he said. "Today is more celebratory, and nostalgic."

* In Chicago, about 2,000 activists marched through the city to demand immigration reform and greater protections for workers. The demonstration was largely peaceful. Half a million people rallied in Chicago in 2006 to demand immigration reform. Numbers since have plummeted to a few thousand.