Labor Day demonstrations in many French cities turned into riots. About 2.3 million people marched in demonstrations across the country on Monday, including 550,000 in Paris, the CGT union said. In the capital, a policeman was set on fire with a Molotov cocktail during a demonstration.
From the beginning of the protests against the pension reform, the CGT reported that the number of demonstrators fluctuated – depending on the day – from 1 to 3.5 million. According to this union, on Monday the number of demonstrators across the country was 2.3 million, so it is not the announced record day of mobilization against the pension reform.
A policeman set on fire with a Molotov cocktail
Ministry of the Interior has not yet provided its data for the entire country. According to the Police Prefecture, 112,000 demonstrators marched in Paris.
In the capital, a policeman was set on fire with a Molotov cocktail. 53 people were detained in the capital until 5 pm. Police evacuated the Place de la Nation, the final point of the main Parisian demonstration, after demonstrators began throwing fireworks at the police.
“They come to commit violence”
In the capital, participants demonstrated with anti-government and anti-presidential banners. Many of the protesters carried caricatured masks of President Emmanuel Macron.
Paris police prefect Laurent Nunez warned on Monday morning that around 2,000 ultra-left activists, including foreigners, would take part in the Paris demonstration. “Activists from the ultra-left movement come to commit violence and today they will have the support of activists from all over Europe,” said Nunez.
Activists poured paint on the facade of the Ritz Hotel
Earlier, Extinction Rebellion activists poured colorful paints on the building of the Louis Vuitton foundation, located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris in the Bois de Boulogne. Around noon, activists from Derniere Renovation poured buckets of orange paint on the facade of the Ritz Hotel and the Ministry of Justice.
In Lyon, hooded demonstrators dressed in black destroyed a shop window, there were clashes with the police, who used tear gas. Riots also broke out in Nantes. The police used tear gas on the protesters, and the demonstrators threw objects at the officers.
Demonstrators occupied a luxury hotel in Marseille
At the end of the May Day demonstration in Marseille, around 200 people briefly occupied the luxury Intercontinental Hotel. Called by the CGT Education union, the demonstrators wanted to carry out a “symbolic action against the unequal distribution of wealth.” The unionists were quickly dislodged and pushed back into the courtyard of the hotel by the police, who used tear gas.
The French continue to massively support the protests against the pension reform. According to poll According to a poll conducted for the daily Le Figaro, 65 percent of French people support the May Day demonstrations, while 60 percent also want the protests to continue after Labor Day.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON