France erupted into chaos today as more than 250 anti-Macron demonstrations broke out across the country. Thousands of people joined the annual May Day protests, which quickly descended into chaos in Paris. In the capital alone, around 5,000 police were deployed to control the violent protest, which left shops looted and streets on fire.
Sunday’s march comes just a week after Emmanuel Macron was re-elected as France’s president when he fired far-right rival Marine Le Pen.
Several of the protesters explicitly demanded that President Macron drop his plan to raise the retirement age.
Others demanded social justice and higher wages.
The protesters carried banners reading “Retirement before arthritis”, “Retirement at 60, prices frozen” and “Macron go away”.
Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, who came third in the first round of the presidential vote, attended the Paris march.
JUST IN: Putin desperately ‘concerned’ about coup plot amid mysterious deaths
He told the crowd: “We will not make a single concession on pensions.”
Melenchon wants to deprive President Macron of a working majority in the National Assembly.
He urged voters, before legislative elections in June, to force President Macron into an uncomfortable “cohabitation” with the left.
An eyewitness in Paris, Tanishk Saha, tweeted: “Protests that took place on May 1 on Boulevard Voltaire in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.
“Black smoke was seen rising up the boulevard, and people fleeing after some sort of smoke cleared, presumably to disperse crowds.”
The police also used water cannons and armored vehicles to quell the violence.
A Paris police official estimated that 20,000 protesters took part in Sunday’s demonstration.
The rally was a sign of ongoing unrest in the country, and the weekend’s march was the 183rd consecutive week of protests.
May Day was chosen in 1889 as the date of International Workers’ Day by the socialists and communists of the Second International.