May Day riots: 109 remain in custody in France

May 03, 2018, 13:31
May Day riots: 109 remain in custody in France

The arrest people are members of far-left anarchist groups, called as Black Blocs.

The worst unrest to hit the capital in months comes amid heightened tensions over President Emmanuel Macron's social reform agenda, which proposes loosening labor regulations to stimulate France's economy.

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.

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.

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Traditional rally of worldwide Workers' Day, or May Day, in Paris turned violent on Tuesday after French police fired tear gas on hooded protestors who hurled projectiles and vandalized properties.

The protesters smashed the windows of businesses, including a Renault garage and McDonalds restaurant near the Austerlitz station in eastern Paris.

About 1,200 people in black outfits and masks were among the demonstrators, according to the police.

The protesters were swamped with teargas and sprayed with a water cannon in an effort to disperse them.

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Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux criticised the protesters for covering up their faces.

'When you have honest convictions, you demonstrate with your face unmasked, ' he said. "Those who wear hoods are the enemies of democracy".

Over Twitter on Tuesday, Macron condemned the violence and pledged to hold the perpetrators responsible. "When you come with Molotov cocktails, it's to burn cops", he said, citing clashes on May 1 a year ago in which one police officer was seriously burnt. The numbers were relatively small compared with other recent demonstrations.

Collomb defended how the police had handled the demonstration on Tuesday, although opposition politicians criticized the government for not having done enough to prevent the violence.

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