Violence erupts during May Day protests in Paris, protesters slam re-elected Macron

PARIS, May 1 (Reuters) – Police fired tear gas to repel black-clad anarchists who ransacked business premises in the French capital Paris on Sunday during May Day protests against the policies of newly re-elected President Emmanuel Macron.

Thousands of people joined May Day marches across France in which they called for wage increases and Macron’s abandonment of plans to raise the retirement age.

Most were peaceful but violence broke out in Paris, where police have made 29 arrests so far, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said on Twitter.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Register

Clashes with police erupted at the start of the march near Place de la République and when it reached Place de la Nation in eastern Paris.

“Black Bloc” anarchists ransacked a McDonald’s restaurant on Place Léon Blum and ransacked several real estate agencies, smashing their windows and setting trash cans on fire.

Police said activists even attacked firefighters, trying to put out fires. The police responded by firing tear gas.

About 250 rallies were organized in Paris and other cities including Lille, Nantes, Toulouse and Marseille. In the capital, the trade unionists were joined by political figures – mainly from the left – and climate activists.

The cost of living was the main theme of the presidential election campaign and should be just as important ahead of the June legislative elections that Macron’s party and its allies must win if it is to be able to implement its business-friendly policies. including increased pensions. age at 65 for 62

Joshua Antunes, a 19-year-old student said: “It is important to show Macron and the whole political world that we are ready to defend our social rights”. He also criticized the president’s “inactivity” on environmental issues.

Marchers carried banners reading ‘Retirement before arthritis’, ‘Retirement at 60, freeze prices’ and ‘Macron, get out’

“The government must solve the problem of purchasing power by increasing wages,” Philippe Martinez, the head of the extremist union CGT, told Reuters before the rallies. Read more

Macron won a new five-year presidential term after beating far-right challenger Marine Le Pen in the runoff last Sunday.

Far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who came third in the first round of the presidential election, took part in the Paris march.

He wants to rally a union of the left, including the Greens, to dominate parliament and force Macron into an awkward “cohabitation”, but so far that has not materialized. Read more

“We will not make any concessions on pensions,” Mélenchon said before the start of the march.

He said he still hoped a deal to build a new leftist union could be reached by tonight.

Unlike previous years, Marine Le Pen did not lay a wreath in Paris in front of the statue of Joan or Arc, which her party uses as a nationalist symbol. She was replaced by the interim president of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, who said that Le Pen was preparing for the legislative elections.

Le Pen urged voters in a video message to elect as many of her party’s MPs as possible in June so she can ‘protect your purchasing power’ and stop Macron carrying out a ‘project harmful to France and the French “

The legislative elections will take place on June 12 and 19.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Register

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, additional reporting by Yonathan Van der Voort, Noémie Olive, Sarah Meyssonier, Caroline Pailliez; Editing by Angus MacSwan

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.