Published: Thu, May 03, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

May Day celebrations turn ugly in France

May Day celebrations turn ugly in France

French police are holding 109 people - a day after masked demonstrators smashed shop windows and torched cars during May Day protests.

Puerto Rico's capital San Juan also saw mass violence as thousands of protesters marched in the streets in a series of rallies that ended in chaos.

Police deployed water cannons and tear gas to try to disperse the rioters. More than 200 anarchists were arrested, the head of Paris' police department, Michel Delpuech, told a news conference.

"When you have honest convictions, you demonstrate with your face unmasked", he said.

"They came to hit capitalist symbols and burn cops".

The black-clad protesters attempted to hold up the demonstration march, before smashing shop windows along the route and torching a McDonald's near Austerlitz station. "Those who wear hoods are the enemies of democracy". "When you come with Molotov cocktails, it's to burn cops", he said, pointing to clashes on 1 May past year that saw one police officer seriously burnt.

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France marks Labor Day as President Emmanuel Macron finds himself in a protracted battle with unions and students over his reform plans.

Under a union campaign to foil Macron's economic reforms, railway staff have begun three months of nationwide rolling strikes against a planned overhaul of state-run railway SNCF.

Police said the Black Blocs had mixed into a smaller demonstration of around 14,500 people which took place alongside the official union rally.

Earlier on Tuesday, Macron reiterated that he would not back down on his reform agenda.

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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