Riot police use teargas against anarchists at Paris May Day rally
PARIS (Reuters) – French riot police used water cannon and teargas on Tuesday against hundreds of hooded protesters after they smashed shop windows and hurled petrol bombs at the start of an annual May Day rally in Paris.
Police 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 some 1,200 hooded and masked protesters dressed in black had turned up on the sidelines of the annual planned demonstration by labor unions.
The protesters smashed the windows of several businesses, including a Renault garage and a McDonalds restaurant on a road near the Austerlitz station in eastern Paris and they set fire to a construction vehicle.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb condemned the violence and said everything was being done to arrest the culprits.
The protesters chanted anti-fascist slogans, waved Soviet flags and anti-government banners and threw firecrackers. Some started to erect barricades.
President Emmanuel Macron, elected last May on a promise to shake up France’s economy and spur jobs growth, is locked in a battle with the trade unions over his plans to liberalize labor regulations.
Railway staff have begun three months of nationwide rolling strikes in a dispute over the government’s planned overhaul of state-run railway SNCF.