Riot police came under attack in Paris today as thousands took to the streets for the traditional May 1 Labour Day protests across France and the rest of the world in defiance of lockdown rules.
Thousands also poured onto the streets of Berlin, Istanbul, Madrid, Paris and Turin for the workers’ day.
There were 18 arrests in the French capital by mid-afternoon, with disturbances breaking out along the route of an organised march.
‘Tear gas is being used to restore order, but the attacks are ongoing,’ said an officer at the scene. ‘Organised gangs are specifically targeting officers.’
France is currently under lockdown because of the Coronavirus pandemic, but this did not stop trade unions and other organisations encouraging protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s administration.
There were chants of ‘Macron resign’ as the march rallied thousands between Republic and Nation squares on Saturday afternoon.
Youths wearing black balaclavas and brandishing metal bars were seen smashing shop and bank windows.
PARIS, FRANCE: A protester kicks in a bank window at the International Labour Day protests on May 1 as demonstrations turned ugly as the crowds vented their fury at Emmanuel Macron
PARIS, FRANCE: A demonstrator holds a flare during demonstrations in the French capital today as they protested against Macron
PARIS, FRANCE: A Gilet Jaune, or yellow vest, protestor stands in front of a burning barricade holding his hand up with an inscription calling for President Macron to resign
PARIS, FRANCE: Riot police with shields move in to quell the disruption as red hot flares are hurled in their direction near the Place de la Republique
PARIS, FRANCE: A Gilet Jaune, or yellow vest, protestor screams towards French Riot Police as they protest through the streets of Paris on May Day against President Macron’s economic reforms, the insufficient state of the French public health system and the French Government’s response to the Covid Pandemic on May 1
Protesters stand near a burning trash bin in the street during the annual May Day
TURIN, ITALY: Riot police clash with protesters during the protest of the May Day in Turin, Italy. Every year May Day is used to mark the fight for workers’ rights, with unions and associations converging in the streets
ISTANBUL, TURKEY: Riot police officers scuffle with demonstrators as they attempt to defy a ban and march on Taksim Square to celebrate May Day, during a nationwide ‘full closure’ imposed to slow the rate of the coronavirus disease
ISTANBUL, TURKEY: Police detain a demonstrator as they clash during a May Day rally marking the international day of the worker
There were regular anti-Macron riots every Saturday in Paris before the Coronavirus crisis, most of them organised by the so-called Yellow Vests movement.
Named after their high-viz jackets, they caused millions of euros worth of damage around the Champs Elysee and other major tourist attractions.
Major acts of vandalism even saw the Arc de Triomphe itself being ransacked, while police had their weapons stolen nearby.
Mounted officers, water cannons, and armoured vehicles capable of spreading high-intensity gas were all used in weekly security operations.
The Vests were joined by extremists from the far Right and the ultra-Left, as well as anarchists intent on causing as much damage as possible.
They forced crisis-ridden Mr Macron to climb down on imposing green surcharges, and he also increased the national minimum wage by seven per sent, and scrapped tax on bonuses, in response to the trouble.
MADRID, SPAIN: Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo and candidates for Madrid’s regional elections Pablo Iglesias from ‘Unidas Podemos’ and Angel Gabilondo from ”Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party” (PSOE) attend a protest to mark the International Labour Day
MOSCOW, RUSSIA: Members of the Communist Party take part in demonstrations in the Russian capital on Saturday
TURIN, ITALY: A protester wearing a protective mask holds a green smoke bomb during the protest of the May Day
TURIN, ITALY: Protesters march through the city to mark International Workers’ Day
MADRID, SPAIN: Socialists hold red flags with the hammer and sickle during May Day protests in Spain on Saturday
MOSCOW, RUSSIA: Russian Communist Party Leader Gennady Zyuganov greets supporters as State Duma Deputy Valery Rashkin (right) looks on in front of the monument to German political theorist Karl Marx during the rally marking the International Labour Day
MOSCOW, RUSSIA: Communist Party supporters attend the rally marking the International Labour Day
MOSCOW, RUSSIA: Communist Party members attend the rally marking the International Labour Day as part of Soviet traditions
MADRID, SPAIN: Hundreds march through the streets of the Spanish capital on Saturday to celebrate workers’ rights
MADRID, SPAIN: People march past the City Hall during the traditional May Day rally on Saturday
MADRID, SPAIN: Thousands pour through the streets of the Spanish capital today to mark the international workers’ day
The independent Mr Macron, leader of the Republic On The Move party, won the French presidential election in a landslide in 2017, but he is now dubbed the ‘President of the Rich’.
He will attempt re-election in a year’s time, but the far-Right leader Marine Le Pen, of the National Rally party, is already making inroads into his vote.
The atmosphere was similarly tense in the Turkish capital, where officers were seen tackling demonstrators, grappling them around their faces and pulling their hair.
In Turin, hundreds scrummed with riot police as red flags bearing the hammer and sickle buffeted in the wind.
And in Madrid, deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo marched with other members of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party.
Meanwhile, the Russian Communist Party held a more subdued commemoration for Karl Marx in Moscow where the authorities still revere the Soviet Union, despite its atrocities and failings.