More than 100 police officers injured and mass arrests after violent protests across France

World

More than 60 arrests have been made and one police officer has been hit by a Molotov cocktail during clashes between police and protesters in France, officials have said.

France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin said the majority of May Day protests were peaceful, but he claimed in Paris, Lyon and Nantes “police are faced with extremely violent thugs who have come with one objective, to kill police officers and attack the property of others”.

“This violence must be condemned without reservation,” he added.

A total of 112,000 people gathered for the protests in Paris, according to police in the city, from a total of 782,000 people worldwide.

Unions in the country had expected hundreds and thousands of people to come out to show their support on the first May Day since President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pensions reforms.

People attend the traditional May Day labour march, a day of mobilisation against the French pension reform law and for social justice, in Paris, France May 1, 2023. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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People attend the traditional May Day labour march in Paris
French CRS riot police stand guard during the traditional May Day labour march, a day of mobilisation against the French pension reform law and for social justice, in Paris, France May 1, 2023. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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French riot police in Paris

New laws have seen the retirement age increased from 62 to 64. Trade unions had called for a large turnout in a bid to reverse the controversial reforms.

May Day, which falls on May 1, is observed in many countries as a day to celebrate workers’ rights with rallies, marches and other events.

More on France

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Sky News’ Adam Parsons explains everything you need to know about the protests

French police clashed with protesters using tear gas as demonstrators pelted officers with Molotov cocktails, fireworks, torched ride-sharing bicycles and smashed up bus stops.

In Lyon and Nantes some vehicles were set on fire and business premises were trashed.

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