French police have arrested more than 200 masked demonstrators who wrecked havoc on Paris Tuesday, smashing shop windows, setting cars alight and torching businesses in an attempt to disrupt the annual May Day rally organized by labor unions, the BBC reports.
President Emmanuel Macron, elected last May on a promise to shake up France's economy and spur jobs growth, is locked in a battle with the trade unions over his plans to liberalise labour regulations.
Police said about 1,200 masked and hooded protesters attended the annual 1 May demonstration by labour unions.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb condemned the violence and said everything was being done to arrest the culprits.
Police pushed back against the rioters, peppering the crowd with tear gas grenades from behind riot shields and hitting the crowd with water cannon.
A McDonald's restaurant near the Austerlitz train station was ransacked and then torched, vehicles and a auto dealership were set ablaze and graffiti was scrawled on walls. They also ransacked shops, torched cars and scrawled anti-capitalist graffiti on walls.
Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux criticised the protesters for covering their faces.
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"When you have honest convictions, you demonstrate with your face unmasked", he said."Those who wear hoods are the enemies of democracy".
'Those who wear hoods are the enemies of democracy'.
There is widespread discontent in labour unions over Mr Macron's reforms.
Tens of thousands of teachers, nurses and other workers joined the rail staff on strike in March.
Police said the Black Blocs had mixed into a smaller demonstration of around 14,500 people which took place alongside the official union rally. Police put the number lower, at about 20,000.
Students have previously occupied several universities across France, protesting Macron's move to reform the education system, including introducing new admissions criteria and ranking young people who apply to public universities.