Violent May Day clashes in Paris (VIDEOS)
Thousands of protesters packed the streets of Paris on Sunday to mark May Day, an annual day of demonstration by socialists and trade unions. With masked ‘black bloc’ anarchists among the crowd, violence and vandalism soon followed.
At least 5,000 police officers were deployed to the streets of the French capital, backed up by armored cars and water cannons. This year’s protests came a week after French President Emmanuel Macron was re-elected, and with around 250 demonstrations planned in the city alone, trade union boss Philippe Martinez called on citizens to “take to the streets” and make the protests “as massive as possible.”
Leftist leader Jean-Luc Melenchon called on his followers to oppose Macron’s planned pension reforms, and marchers held banners decrying the centrist president’s plans to raise the retirement age to 65.
Amid crowds of peaceful marchers, groups dressed in black and wearing masks soon scuffled with police. Tear gas was fired and video footage showed officers tackling suspects to the ground, while another clip showed a group of heavily-armored officers charging protesters who pelted them with projectiles.
Update:Paris:#Manifs:Intersyndicale:#1ermai :🚩Tension:entre les FDO et les manifestants:📽️Loopsidernews:Tran:Tension between police and protesters:#JourneeInternationaleDesTravailleurs#1eroDeMayo2022pic.twitter.com/AvFMRdE55s— Residents Corner (@ResidentsCorner) May 1, 2022
Rioters smashed a McDonald’s, before police arrived to protect the restaurant, and other businesses – including banks, insurance firms, and at least one real estate office – were also targeted.
La situation dégénère en tête de cortège à #Paris. De nombreuses agences bancaires et immobilières sont prises pour cible le long du Boulevard Voltaire. #1erMai#1ermai2022#Manif1erMaipic.twitter.com/mIMNxBtM4v— QG le média libre (@LibreQg) May 1, 2022
Protesters piled building materials and trash in the streets, before setting these barricades alight. Some of the fires sent choking clouds of black smoke into the air.
It is unclear how many people have been arrested thus far. Protests have also taken place in a number of French cities, including Lille, Nantes, Toulouse, and Marseille.