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MAY DAY

IN PICTURES: Scuffles and arrests in Paris as thousands mark May Day across France

Police scuffled with protesters in Paris on Saturday, firing tear gas, as thousands turned out across France for May Day workers' rights demonstrations.

IN PICTURES: Scuffles and arrests in Paris as thousands mark May Day across France
Police officers of the brigade of repression of violent action BRAV walk near a fire burning in the street during the annual May Day (Labour Day) rally in Paris on May 1, 2021. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)

A police source told AFP that far-left “black bloc” protesters had repeatedly tried to block the trade union-led march in the French capital, with 34 people detained.

A protester throws a projectile during clashes with police at the annual May Day (Labour Day) rally in Paris on May 1, 2021. (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP)

Some protesters smashed the windows of bank branches, set fire to dustbins and threw projectiles at police, who responded with volleys of tear gas and stingball grenades. An injured policeman had to be evacuated, an AFP journalist saw.

Protesters stand near a burning trash bin in the street during the annual May Day (Labour Day) rally in Paris on May 1, 2021. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)

The CGT union said nearly 300 May Day protests were planned around the country, with authorities expecting around 100,000 demonstrators to join them
in total.

The crowds held placards with different demands, ranging from the end of the nighttime curfew in place as part of coronavirus restrictions, to a halt to unemployment reforms due to come into force in July.

Protesters hold a banner reading “Courthouse, police, prison, employment office, the enchanted world of Macron” during the annual May Day (Labour Day) rally in Paris on May 1, 2021. (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP)

Different industries took to the streets to protest, including tourism workers.

Protestors of the tourism industry hold signs and banners as they take part in the annual May Day (Labour Day) workers’ demonstration, in Paris on May 1, 2021. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)

And protestors from the French General Confederation of Labour (CGT) in Paris held a banner, which read “For social rights and liberties, against far-right ideas, workers from every country, let’s unite!” (below pic)

(Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)

Members of the yellow vest anti-elite movement, which rocked Emmanuel Macron’s presidency two years ago before largely fizzling out, could also be spotted at protests up and down the country.

A protester holds up his hand with “Macron get out” written on his palm as he stands next to a shattered bank window during the annual May Day (Labour Day) rally in Paris on May 1, 2021. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)

Five people were arrested in the southeastern city of Lyon as black bloc protesters again clashed with police at the demonstration, which drew some 3,000 people despite the rain.

Ultra-leftist protesters burn flares and hold banners, one reading , ‘Long live May 1’ and ‘En Bande Organisee’ as they head the annual May Day (Labour Day) rally in the southeastern city of Lyon on May 1, 2021. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AFP)

“There are so many motivations for a revolt that are building up — the management of Covid, the so-called reforms that are going to take away people’s ability to live, jobseekers who are going to lose their benefits,” said a pensioner who gave her name as Patricia.

“We absolutely need to express ourselves,” the 66-year-old said.

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PROTESTS

Students blockade Paris schools in election protest

Students blockaded five schools in Paris on Tuesday to demonstrate their political concerns ahead of the second round of the Presidential elections on Sunday.

Students blockade Paris schools in election protest

In addition to the five blockaded lycées, the université Paris 8 in Saint-Denis was closed “for security reasons”.

The students – who are too young to make their voices heard at the ballot box – were protesting against the options available to voters in the second round – where incumbent Emmanuel Macron takes on far-right leader Marine Le Pen – and follows earlier student protests at the Sorbonne.

Many were demonstrating in protest at what they saw as inadequate policies on climate change and social issues from both candidates in the final round of voting, as well as the lack of choice for the electorate.

“It is a continuation of what happened at the Sorbonne,” one student told AFP. “We want a third social round, because the two candidates qualified for the second round have no social or ecological programmes. 

“We want to give a new breath to this Fifth Republic a little at the end of the race.

“We are fed up with the fascist state. We are here against Marine Le Pen, against fascism, for the climate and against capitalism,” another student at the lycée Louis-le-Grand in the capital’s fifth arrondissement said.

“We have blocked all the entrances. We will stay there as long as possible.”

About 100 students blockaded the prestigious school. Some students chant slogans against the “Front National” – the former name of second-round candidate Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National party.

The blockades ended peacefully at the end of the day.

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