PARIS (Reuters) – Hundreds of hooded protesters held up an annual May Day demonstration in eastern Paris on Tuesday, with some smashing the windows of a McDonald’s restaurant and hurling petrol bombs inside, Reuters television images showed.
French police warned on Monday of possible clashes with far-left anarchist groups, known as Black Blocs, after a call on social media for a “Revolutionary Day”.
Authorities said some 1,200 hooded and masked protesters had turned up on the sidelines of Tuesday’s planned demonstration by labor unions.
Images also showed the smashed windows of a Renault garage on a road near the Austerlitz station and a construction vehicle in flames.
The protesters moved towards riot police chanting anti-fascist slogans, waving Soviet flags and anti-government banners and throwing firecrackers. Some started to build barricades. The police used water cannon against some of the protesters.
President Emmanuel Macron, elected last May on a promise to shake up France’s creaking economy and spur jobs growth, is locked in a battle with the trade unions over his plans to liberalize labor regulations.
Railway staff have begun three months of nationwide rolling strikes in a dispute over the government’s planned overhaul of state-run railway SNCF.
(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Gareth Jones)