PARIS – Thousands of people are parading and protesting across France for the traditional May Day parades, carrying union signs and flags. Many wear masks. In Paris, 17 people were stopped shortly before the march started from Place de la Republique. The authorities expect around 100,000 demonstrators across the country.
Around 300 demonstrations were organized between Paris and other French cities, including Lyon, Nantes, Lille and Toulouse. In the French capital, the “yellow vests” joined the trade unionists.
Most of the demonstrations were peaceful with a few exceptions. Lyon police shot a group of about 200 people who were throwing fireworks, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes prefecture said on Twitter. Seventeen people were arrested in Paris, where 5,000 policemen were deployed. Some hooded and black-clad protesters clashed with police or threw stones and trash cans.
The far left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon and the far-right leader Marine Le Pen, both attended the events.