fbpx
News

Police Arrest Hundreds At Paris May Day Protests [Video]

French police have arrested more than 200 people and used water cannon and teargas against masked protesters who smashed shop windows and hurled petrol bombs after a planned peaceful May Day rally by labour unions.

The clashes came against a backdrop of union discontent with the president, Emmanuel Macron, over his plans to stimulate France’s economy and spur jobs growth by loosening labour regulations.

Riot police in Paris had warned on Monday of possible clashes with far-left anarchist groups, known as Black Blocs, after a call on social media to make Tuesday a “Revolutionary Day”.

Authorities said around 1,200 masked and hooded protesters dressed in black turned up on the sidelines of the annual May Day demonstration by labour unions.

More than 200 anarchists were arrested and four people, including a police officer, were lightly wounded in the ensuing disturbances, Paris police chief Michel Delpuech told a news conference.

Protesters smashed windows of businesses, including a Renault garage and McDonald’s restaurant near the Austerlitz train station in eastern Paris. They also ransacked shops, torched cars and scrawled anti-capitalist graffiti on walls before eventually being dispersed by police.

Gérard Collomb, the interior minister, condemned the violence and said everything was being done to apprehend the culprits.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux criticised the protesters for covering their faces. “When you have sincere convictions, you demonstrate with your face unmasked,” he said. “Those who wear hoods are the enemies of democracy.”

The protesters chanted anti-fascist slogans, waved old Soviet flags and anti-government banners and threw firecrackers. Some started to erect barricades.

David Le Bars, a police union official, told BFM TV that security services had opted to let the protesters smash things rather than engage them to avoid casualties on either side that could exacerbate tensions.

“They came to hit capitalist symbols and burn cops. When you come with Molotov cocktails, it’s to burn cops,” he said, pointing to clashes on 1 May last year that saw one police officer seriously burnt.

Under a union campaign to foil Macron’s economic reforms, railway staff have begun three months of nationwide rolling strikes against a planned overhaul of state-run railway SNCF.

Discontent over Macron’s policies has spread beyond the railways and the May Day protests were intended to send a message of defiance to the former investment banker, who is currently on a trip to Australia.

Earlier on Tuesday, Macron reiterated that he would not back down on his reform agenda.

Unions put the number of peaceful protesters at the main rally in Paris at about 55,000, though police put it at around 20,000. The numbers were relatively small compared with other recent demonstrations.

Police said the Black Blocs had mixed into a second rally of 14,500 people set up alongside the official union movement.

Opposition conservative and far-right politicians accused Macron’s government of being insufficiently prepared for the violent protests and criticised it for not cracking down more heavily on anarchists.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the far-left France Unbowed party, said he believed far-right groups were responsible for the violence.

Join The Discussion

At Least 70 Killed In Major Bangladesh Fire
At Least 70 Killed In Major Bangladesh Fire [Video]
Trump Ends Shutdown, Signs Bill To Reopen Government
Trump Ends Shutdown, Signs Bill To Reopen Government [Video]
Melbourne Expecting 44C As Victoria Faces Hottest Day Since Black Saturday
Melbourne Expecting 44C As Victoria Faces Hottest Day Since Black Saturday
Maduro Rival Guaido Claims Venezuela Presidency
Maduro Rival Guaido Claims Venezuela Presidency [Video]
Cryptocurrency Market Volumes Reach Nine-Month High
Cryptocurrency Market Volumes Reach Nine-Month High
United Kingdom Does Not See Utility Token As Securities
United Kingdom Does Not See Utility Token As Securities
How To Put Crypto In Everyone’s Pocket In 2019
How To Put Crypto In Everyone’s Pocket In 2019
How To Buy Bitcoin Anonymously
How To Buy Bitcoin Anonymously
The Future Of Online Shopping
The Future Of Online Shopping
10 Marketing Trends To Watch In 2019
10 Marketing Trends To Watch In 2019
40+ Video Marketing Statistics For 2019
40+ Video Marketing Statistics For 2019 [Infographic]
Emerging Email Marketing Trends To Survive 2019 And Beyond
Emerging Email Marketing Trends To Survive 2019 And Beyond [Infographic]
YouTube Introduces One-Time Warning, New Strike Penalties
YouTube Introduces One-Time Warning, New Strike Penalties [Video]
The Latest Social Media Automation Rules In 2019
The Latest Social Media Automation Rules In 2019
4 Tips To Help You With The Constant Changes In Social Media
4 Tips To Help You With The Constant Changes In Social Media
Instagram's Testing Side-Scrolling Feed View, Similar To Stories
Instagram’s Testing Side-Scrolling Feed View, Similar To Stories
What Is Your Therapist Listening For
What Is Your Therapist Listening For?
Wish You Were Smarter
Wish You Were Smarter? These 4 Brain Hacks Can Help You Get There
Weightlifting Less Than An Hour Per Week Could Increase Your Longevity
Weightlifting Less Than An Hour Per Week Could Increase Your Longevity
Your Environment May Affect Your Eyes More Than You Realize
Your Environment May Affect Your Eyes More Than You Realize
At Least 70 Killed In Major Bangladesh Fire
At Least 70 Killed In Major Bangladesh Fire [Video]
YouTube Introduces One-Time Warning, New Strike Penalties
YouTube Introduces One-Time Warning, New Strike Penalties [Video]
Trump Ends Shutdown, Signs Bill To Reopen Government
Trump Ends Shutdown, Signs Bill To Reopen Government [Video]
Samsung Galaxy S10 Bitcoin Wallet Leaked By Insider
Samsung Galaxy S10 Bitcoin Wallet Leaked By Insider [Video]