109 in Custody as France Steps Up Security after May Day Violence
03 May, 2018, 13:31 | Author: Gregory Stephens
Further demonstrations are planned later this week, in protest against economic reform plans by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Over Twitter on Tuesday, Macron condemned the violence and pledged to hold the perpetrators responsible.
Tear gas floats around masked protesters during clashes with French CRS riot police at the May Day labour union rally in Paris, France May 1, 2018.
According to the authorities, the riots involved about 1.2 thousand activists of the ultra left movement Black blocks, hiding their faces with masks.
Paris Police Prefect Michel Delpuech said that the violence was carried out by masked attackers from a libertarian group called the Black Blocs that numbered around 1,200 people in total and were on the margins of the 20,000-strong protest.
Chanting anti-fascist slogans and waving Soviet flags and anti-government banners, the protesters smashed windows of businesses, including a Renault garage and McDonalds restaurant near the Austerlitz train station in eastern Paris. In one street anti-capitalists vandalised a Mercedes dealership and destroyed three of its cars while other makes of vehicle were left alone.
Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux criticised the protesters for covering up their faces.
"They came to hit capitalist symbols and burn cops".
Live feeds from Paris showed chaotic scenes, as police attempt to disperse violent protesters while redirecting crowds of peaceful marchers to side streets. He said: "When you have honest convictions, you demonstrate with your face unmasked..." When you come with Molotov cocktails, it's to burn cops, ' he said.
Speaking in Australia earlier on Tuesday Macron, a former investment banker who swept to power a year ago, reiterated that he would not back down on his reform agenda.
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The protesters also demanded that the government address issues including low wages, unemployment and trade union repression. The following day a protest rally near Chicago's Haymarket Square turned into a riot after someone threw a bomb at police.
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