Paris May Day rally: Riot police use teargas, water cannon against anarchists

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Emmanuel Macron, who has remained unmoved by the protests and vowed to proceed with the reforms, is not in Paris to witness the unrest, having flown to Australia for a state visit.

Masked and hooded protesters react as they walk behind a banner during the traditional May Day labour union march in Paris Thomson Reuters 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.

According to the authorities, the riots involved about 1.2 thousand activists of the ultra left movement Black blocks, hiding their faces with masks.

Paris Police Prefect Michel Delpuech stated that violence was carried out by masked attackers from a libertarian group referred to as the Black Blocs that numbered round 1,200 individuals in whole. On Monday, police warned of possible clashes with far-left anarchists, after calls to make it a "revolutionary day" appeared on social media. Numerous rioters are hiding their faces with masks.

David Le Bars, a police union official, told BFM TV that security services opted to let the protesters smash things rather than engage them to avoid casualties on both sides.

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"They came to hit capitalist symbols and burn cops". When you come with Molotov cocktails, it's to burn cops, ' he said.

There is widespread discontent in labour unions over Mr Macron's reforms.

Unions said the number of peaceful protesters at the main demonstration on Tuesday was about 55,000.

Opposition conservative and far-right politicians accused Macron's government of being insufficiently prepared for the violent protests and criticised it for not cracking down more heavily on anarchists.

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