Thousands of people, from all ages, held a massive rally in central Paris to mark May Day on Monday. Although the demonstration was largely peaceful, dozens of masked protesters clashes with police along the route. -
A large number of police personnel were already deployed to control the rallies, which first gathered at the Republique Square and then marched toward the Bastille Square before ending up at the Nation Square.
Six riot police officers were injured, one with third-degree burns to his hand and face, when a group of about 150 people armed with molotov cocktails, stones and sticks hijacked the traditional May Day march organised by French unions.
Even before the violence, the march had got off on the wrong foot. Unable to agree on how best to confront the prospect of Le Pen becoming the country’s next president - by voting blank, abstaining or choosing Emmanuel Macron – the unions went their separate ways, with two organising a breakaway gathering in north Paris on Monday morning.
Centrist Emmanuel Macron, 39, and far-right Marine Le Pen, 48, won the first round of voting in the presidential election on April 23. Macron finished first on 24 percent, ahead of Le Pen with 21.3 percent. They will now have to contend in the runoff, scheduled for May 7.
The march was held a week before holding the decisive second round of France's presidential election.