Thousands of people went to the streets in several French cities on Saturday for 1 May protests. Protesters, despite national corona measures, expressed their dissatisfaction with, inter alia, government plans to adjust unemployment benefits. More than 300 demonstrations were planned in the country, including in Paris, Lyon, Nantes, Lille and Toulouse, with an estimated total of 100,000 participants.
many places the demonstrations were peaceful, but in Lyon the police had to act against about 200 people throwing fireworks. 27 officers were injured, five people were arrested.
In Paris, 5,000 cops were on their feet. On Saturday afternoon, 34 people had already been arrested. In black clad extreme left protesters tried to block a trade union protest march. Police drove them apart with tear gas and rubber bullets when they threw in windows of bank buildings, set waste bins on fire, and threw things at the cops.
Labour Day is traditionally a day of meetings of left-wing parties and trade unions. In Paris, demonstrators of trade unionists were accompanied by members of the “yellow vest movement”, the movement that launched a series of weekly protests against the government three years ago. Employees from sectors hard hit by the corona measures also participated in the actions.
The 1 May protests were also attended by the left-wing politician Jean-Luc Melenchon and the right-wing trump Marine le Pen, who both hope to defeat President Emmanuel Macron in next years presidential elections.