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17 May, 2016 14:08

Tear gas in Paris as hundreds protest labor reforms (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Police have fired tear gas at scores of protesters in Paris who came to protest the unpopular labor reform pushed through by the government. Earlier in the day, President Francois Hollande said he would not back down on the reform plan.

RT’s Anna Baranova, reporting from central Paris, said that French police used tear gas in response to the actions of some protesters, while she also described the scene on the ground.

There are thousands of people out here and it is important to say that not everyone is from trade unions, as it is a very diverse crowd," she said.

"There are students here, there are the usual participants from Nuit Debout [Rise Up At Night], and there are also troublemakers who have come to start violence with the police, and this is when the violence erupts."

READ MORE: Thousands gather across Europe for Global Debout protests

Tuesday’s rally in the French capital is part of a general strike called by seven trade unions across the country.

This is the sixth demonstration against the “El Khomri law,” named for French Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri. The law extends maximum working hours, and cut holidays and breaks as the government attempts to liberalize France's labor market.

The law was signed into effect last week without parliamentary approval, and the protesters called for strikes and rallies on Tuesday and Thursday.

Public transport, including France's ports, trains and airports, is set to be affected by the general strikes on both days.

The strikes and rallies are trending on Twitter under the hashtag #LoiTravail [Labor Law].

Earlier in the day, President Hollande said he would not withdraw the labor market reforms, which have sparked two months of street protests.

“I will not give way because too many [previous] governments have backed down,” he said in an interview with Europe 1 radio.

Opponents say the reforms will erode job security.

Rallies in Nantes, Dijon and Rouen

A protest against the law in the city of Nantes turned violent with protesters throwing glass bottles and other objects at police, who responded with tear gas, water cannons and pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Around 3,500 people took part in the protest, according to police, while protest groups say the number was at least twice as big.

The city of Dijon has seen a more peaceful assembly, with hundreds of people marching through the streets, carrying banners and flags and chanting slogans.

In Rouen, the office of French President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party has been attacked by the anti-government Nuit Debout movement. The video shows that the party’s name on the building’s façade has been vandalized with red paint, while activists are trying to cover it with what looks like a piece of white cloth.

Over 1,000 people have been arrested during clashes with police over recent months, with more than 300 police and a number of protesters hurt in clashes, according to officials.