French police battle with protesters on May Day+ VIDEO

TEHRAN, May 01 (MNA) – French police clashed with protesters in Paris and other big cities on Monday during trade union-organized Labor Day protests against the increase in the retirement age.

Police fired tear gas during the demonstrations in Paris and clashed with some black-clad demonstrators, Yahoo News reported. 

Officers were pelted with projectiles, ride-sharing bicycles were torched and bus stops smashed up just as the union-led march got underway from the central Place de la Republique.

In the capital, Extinction Rebellion activists threw paint over the glass-fronted facade of the Louis Vuitton Foundation and paving stones outside the Ritz Hotel.

Unrest also erupted in Lyon, where several vehicles were set ablaze and some business premises were trashed.

Meanwhile, in Nantes in western France, a fire broke out in front of a local administration building during the protests.

French officials say more than 60 people have been arrested amid the trouble.

Emmanuel Macron’s popularity has plunged to near record lows after he defied unions to lift the retirement age by two years to 64.

Sophie Binet, leader of the left-wing CGT union, said the pension reform had left Mr Macron isolated.

“The executive cannot govern without the support of its people," Ms Binet said ahead of the Paris protest, adding her union had not yet decided on talks with the government on other matters in the weeks ahead.

Laurent Berger, head of the more moderate CFDT trade union, said Mr Macron’s government had been deaf to the demands of one of the most powerful social movements in decades.

He said his union was open to discussions with the government and dismissed suggestions that a rare alliance between the leading trade unions was being tested now that the pension bill had been signed into law.

“We must bring other proposals over salaries and working conditions to the table," he said.

SKH/PR

News Code 200151

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