France to tighten security at protests after May Day violence

France to tighten security at protests after May Day violence

Paris police chief Michel Delpuech said more than 200 demonstrators had been arrested and four people were lightly injured in the clashes, including a police officer.

Government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux criticised the protesters for covering their faces. Unions said the total number of peaceful protesters at the rally was 55,000 while the police said the number was 20,000, the BBC report said.

Protesters wear black clothing cover their faces with scarves, hoods, balaclavas and motorcycle helmets to hide their identities and lessen the effects of teargas.

Shouting "Rise up, Paris", "Everyone hates the police", and "Macron puts us in a black rage" the protesters, apparently from the far-left Black bloc movement, hurled stones, molotov cocktails and other projectiles at security forces who responded with teargas and water cannon.

The minister further explained that "We know it (about Black Blocs gathering), but we cannot arrest people who come in civilian clothes and then suddenly they got dressed in black and infiltrated in the crowd".

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"The desire of the radical activists was to spiral the day out of control", Delpuech said.

Collomb defended the way police had handled the violence, saying little could be done to stop trouble-makers infiltrating crowds. "I can only condemn again what has happened, with the greatest firmness", he said.

Hundreds of masked and hooded protesters clashed with police in Paris on Thursday, expressing their anger against President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies on a May Day rally. "There is a government, there is a state, there are leaders, and it will continue to be so".

However, Collomb said there will be more police presence on the streets of Paris for the next demonstrations slated for next year.

Discontent with Macron's economic policies has spread beyond the railways and the May Day protests were meant to send a message of defiance to the former investment banker, who is now on a trip to Australia.

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