A total of 116,500 people demonstrated on Sunday in France for May Day, including 24,000 in Paris where the procession was marred by violence, said the Ministry of the Interior, the CGT counting more than 210,000 demonstrators overall. of the territory.

The ministry counted 278 demonstrations in the country and 8 police officers and gendarmes injured.

The Paris prosecutor's office indicated, according to an initial report, that 50 people had been placed in police custody, following the violence in the capital.

Mobilization up this year

More than a hundred thousand people marched across France on Sunday on the occasion of May Day, a mobilization on the rise in a very political context after the presidential election, and several processions were marred by incidents, in particular at Paris, leading the Minister of the Interior to denounce "unacceptable" violence.

The mobilization was higher than last year in the whole of France, where the CGT claimed 210,000 demonstrators, against 170,000 last year.

The Interior Ministry reported 116,500 protesters compared to 106,650 in 2021.

In the capital, the demonstration, which began around 2.30 p.m. on Place de la République, dispersed on Place de la Nation shortly after 6 p.m.

The CGT claimed 50,000 demonstrators, while they were 21,000 according to an accounting by the cabinet Occurrence for a media collective including AFP, and 24,000 according to the ministry, which had identified 17,000 last year.

Violence in the capital

If the bulk of the troops, at the call of the inter-union CGT-Unsa-FSU-Solidaires were able to parade in peace in Paris, tensions very quickly appeared between very mobile demonstrators dressed in black, detached from the main procession, and law enforcement.

Broken windows, tagged walls: dozens of bank or real estate agencies, insurance companies, but also an organic store and a McDonald's restaurant were vandalized, and clashes punctuated the course with tear gas canisters responding to jets of projectiles.

A firefighter who was trying to put out a pallet fire was attacked by a woman, who was arrested.

These incidents led the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, to denounce "unacceptable violence" committed by "thugs".

His cabinet reported eight wounded among the police and gendarmes.

The minister reported 54 arrests.

The "parasitic" violence of May 1 "makes the unions invisible and serves as propaganda for our worst adversaries", tweeted the leader of France Insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who attacked the prefect of police Didier Lallement, “unable to guarantee the right to demonstrate in peace” according to him.

“Very strong dissatisfaction”

The union slogans were higher wages, the maintenance of public services and social protection, and a policy of ecological transition.

The pension reform was also one of the points of tension of this day, a week after the re-election of Emmanuel Macron, underlined the secretary general of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, for whom a new mobilization is possible as soon as "before the come back, because the level of dissatisfaction with pensions or salaries is very high”.

“We are resolutely opposed (…) to any form of raising the retirement age”, hammered for his part the secretary general of FO, Yves Veyrier.

Elsewhere in France, demonstrations brought together 1,900 people in Bordeaux, 3,600 in Marseille, 3,500 in Toulouse, 4,000 in Lyon, 1,500 in Strasbourg or Saint-Étienne, 2,000 in Lille according to police figures.

A total of 255 assembly points were planned in the country, according to the CGT.

In Rennes, after the demonstration organized in the calm in the morning (1,650 people according to the prefecture), several hundred ultra-left activists played cat and mouse for two hours with the police, in particular lighting trash fires.

Damage also took place in Nantes, where the police intervened to disperse ultra-left activists, according to the prefecture.

PS Mayor Johanna Rolland condemned, in a press release, "unacceptable acts of violence".

"Third Round in the Street"

This May Day also had a special meaning for the left, in the context of difficult negotiations to reach an agreement for the legislative elections.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, in the middle of the campaign for "the third round", spoke on a platform as the Parisian procession moved off, urging an agreement "tonight".

In Marseille, Martine Haccoun, a 65-year-old retired doctor, came "to show that we did not give Macron a blank check for five years, we wanted to block Mrs. Le Pen".

“I come to demonstrate every May 1, but perhaps the period after the elections brought people who would not necessarily have come,” said Sylvie Marchese, 49, in Toulouse, a specialized educator unionized at the CGT.

After the barrage against Marine Le Pen at the ballot box and the re-election of Emmanuel Macron, "the hardest part remains to be done because if we don't fight now, we will cry tears of blood", estimates Alain Theux, 77 years old and CGT union member present in the Bordeaux procession.

The CFDT, France's leading union, unsurprisingly stood apart, organizing a "May 1st committed to the climate" and for salary increases.

“We are looking for mobilizations that are more symbolic than mass”, declared to the press its secretary general Laurent Berger, during a “demanding and festive” rally organized on the disused rails of the “Little belt”, in the 18th arrondissement. district of Paris.

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May 1: Faced with the possibility of a new postponement of the legal retirement age, the demonstrators dream of a “fairer” system

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May 1: Degraded signs during the demonstration in Paris, Gérald Darmanin denounces "unacceptable violence"

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