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IN PICTURES: 54 arrested after trouble erupts at Paris May Day demo

Fifty four people have been arrested after trouble erupted at the traditional May 1st march in Paris, with street furniture set on fire and shop windows smashed. A firefighter was attacked as he tried to extinguish the flames.

IN PICTURES: 54 arrested after trouble erupts at Paris May Day demo
A fire burns in the road during clashes between protesters and police in Paris on May 1st. Photo by AFP

The main march – organised by trades unions and calling for improvements in standard of living as well as a halt to Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the pension age – passed off without incident, but a small group of black-clad protesters clashed with police shortly after the march moved off from Place de la République on Sunday afternoon.

Police clash with protesters on the Boulevard Voltaire. Photo by AFP

Later in the afternoon a McDonald’s was vandalised and windows smashed at banks, real estate agencies, insurance firms and a shop selling organic produce.

A fire burns in the road during clashes between protesters and police in Paris. Photo by AFP

The group sprayed anti-capitalist graffiti and set fire to street furniture and wheelie bins – with one female demonstrator attacking a firefighter as he and his colleagues attempted to extinguish the flames.

There were further clashes between the group and the police at Place de la Nation, with police firing tear gas. The main demonstration was blocked from entering Nation by police as the violence continued.

A police officer clashes with a protesters in tear gas smoke. Photo by AFP

According to an Interior Ministry update at 7pm on Sunday, 54 people had been arrested and eight police officers injured during the clashes.

Elsewhere in France, dozens of May 1st demonstrations took place, but largely passed off without incident. 

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POLICE

French pensioner pushed out of 17th-floor window ‘may have been victim of anti-Semitic attack’

An 89-year-old man who was pushed out of his 17th-storey window by a neighbour may have been killed because he was Jewish, a prosecutor said on Friday, after several shocking anti-Semitic murders in France in recent years.

French pensioner pushed out of 17th-floor window 'may have been victim of anti-Semitic attack'

The victim’s body was found at the foot of his building in Lyon, southeast France, on May 17th and the 51-year-old neighbour was arrested. But investigators did not initially charge him with a racist crime.

Last Sunday, the BNVCA anti-Semitism watchdog group said it would seek to be a plaintiff in the case, citing its similarity with the 2017 murder of Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old thrown from her window in a case that sparked national outcry.

“After social media postings were provided to us, the prosector’s office has asked judges to consider the aggravating circumstance of an act committed because of the victim’s ethnicity, nationality, race or religion,” Lyon prosecutor Nicolas Jacquet told AFP.

He did not provide examples of the posts, but Gilles-William Goldnadel, a lawyer and commentator for CNews television, said on Wednesday on Twitter that the suspect had called out Goldnabel in messages, including one that told him to “remember your origins.”

“It’s no longer a question of telling us it’s the act of a mentally disturbed person. The truth of anti-Semitism must no longer be hidden,” Goldnadel wrote.

France has grappled with a sharp rise in violence targeting its roughly 500,000 Jews, the largest community in Europe, in addition to jihadist attacks in recent years.

The murder of Halimi drew particular outrage after the killer, who had shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic), avoided trial because a judge determined he was under the influence of drugs and not criminally responsible.

That prompted President Emmanuel Macron to seek a law change to ensure people face responsibility for violent crimes while under the influence of drugs, which was adopted in December 2021.

In 2018, 85-year-old Mireille Knoll was brutally stabbed in an attack by two men said to have been looking for “hidden treasures” in her Paris apartment.

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