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Tens of thousands protest in France on May Day following election

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Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets across France on Sunday to mark May Day after the presidential election last week.

Labour unions and student organisations led protests against newly re-elected President Emmanuel Macron with demands for higher wages, support for public services and more climate-friendly policies.

Clashes broke out between young people dressed in black and Paris’ police with many shop windows destroyed and fires breaking out.

Demonstrators broke bank windows and wrote anticapitalist messages on a McDonald’s and police fired tear gas.

Interior minister Gérald Darmanin said that “thugs” were committing “unacceptable violence” and expressed his “full support for police”.

The May Day protests also come as left-wing parties in France aim to strike an agreement ahead of the June legislative elections following the defeat of leftist candidates in the first round of the election.

In Paris, leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon called for an agreement between left-wing parties tonight.

The CGT labour union claimed that 50,000 protesters were present in the capital city. Thousands also protested in other large cities across France such as Marseille, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Lyon and Strasbourg, according to police.

May Day gatherings take place across Europe

Protests were planned across Europe to mark May Day, with police detaining 164 people in Istanbul.

In Italy, after a two-year pandemic lull, an outdoor mega-concert was set for Rome with rallies and protests in cities across the country.

Besides work, peace was an underlying theme with calls for an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Italy’s three main labour unions were focusing their main rally in the hilltop town of Assisi, a frequent destination for peaceful protests. This year’s slogan is “Working for peace.”

“It’s a May Day of social and civil commitment for peace and labour,” said the head of Italy’s CISL union, Daniela Fumarola.

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