Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 10 December 2019

May Day: Activists clash with police in Paris in test for Emmanuel Macron

Hundreds of arrests were made in France, Russia and Turkey

Police officers pass by burning garbage as they confront demonstrators during a May Day rally in Paris, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Brief scuffles between police and protesters have broken out in Paris as thousands of people gather for May Day rallies under tight security measures. Police used tear gas to control the crowd gathering near Paris' Montparnasse train station. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police officers pass by burning garbage as they confront demonstrators during a May Day rally in Paris, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Brief scuffles between police and protesters have broken out in Paris as thousands of people gather for May Day rallies under tight security measures. Police used tear gas to control the crowd gathering near Paris' Montparnasse train station. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Protests in Paris turned violent as French police clashed with demonstrators throwing stones and setting fires in a May Day test for President Emmanuel Macron.

More than 7,400 police were deployed in the French capital as labour unionists mixed with yellow vest protesters for the annual march to mark workers’ day. The clashes were a test for Mr Macron who has made a series of concessions to end months of demonstrations against economic decline and growing hardship among the French.

Police fired tear gas at crowds in response to hundreds of “black bloc” anti-capitalist activists who were hurling objects at them.

Protesters took to the streets all over the world on Wednesday as labour unions marked International Workers’ Day.

In 80 countries, May Day, as it is known, is a public holiday and is usually marked with parades, marches and rallies.

However, in Russia where the parades are seen as a celebration rather than an opportunity to raise workers’ issues, more than 120 people were detained, including a number of demonstrators protesting against President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg.

Elsewhere in Europe, labour unions in Spain used the day to call on the new socialist government to make good on promises to reform labour legislation and fight against inequality.

In Iran, where labour unions are banned, 12 members of the Free Workers Trade Union in the country were arrested ahead of May 1, according to local media.

In Istanbul, demonstrators tried to march towards Taksim Square, which Turkish police had declared off-limits.

The main square was the site where 34 people were killed during a May Day rally in 1977 after shots were fired at crowds from a building nearby.

"Squares belong to the people, they cannot be closed off. Long live May 1," protesters chanted as they were dragged away from Taksim Square.

Labour unions in the Philippines led calls for a rise in the minimum wage and criticised President Rodrigo Duterte for encouraging Beijing investment, which they said would come at the cost of workers’ exploitation.

Demonstrators marching towards the presidential palace in Manila burnt an effigy of Mr Duterte.

In Sri Lanka, traditional May Day rallies were cancelled over security concerns following the Easter Sunday bombings.

Updated: May 1, 2019 07:30 PM

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