Workers and activists marked May Day around the world Monday with defiant rallies and marches for better pay and working conditions.
Police detained 70 people in Istanbul as they tried to march. Garment workers in Cambodia defied a government ban to demand higher wages, and businesses in Puerto Rico were boarded up as the U.S. territory braced for a huge strike over austerity measures. In Paris, police fired tear gas and used clubs on rowdy protesters at a march that included calls to defeat far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.
Some May Day events around the world:
A May Day march in Paris turned violent less than a week before the runoff French presidential election as police clashed with a small group of protesters who threw Molotov cocktails at officers.
A few hundred protesters started throwing gasoline bombs and other objects at police at the front end of what started as a peaceful union march in the French capital on Monday.
Police responded with tear gas and truncheons. Riot police clubbed some protesters who were pushed up against a wall on a tree-lined avenue. One police officer was seen spraying a troublemaker in the face.
Four police officers were injured, one seriously burned in the face, Interior Minister Matthias Fekl said, denouncing the “intolerable violence.”
His statement said all would be done to identify and arrest those responsible.
The annual march to celebrate workers’ rights this year included calls to block far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen from winning the presidency during a runoff election on Sunday.
Some of the violent protesters at the May Day event had signs referring to the presidential election and expressing dissatisfaction with both candidates in Sunday’s runoff election.
“Not one or the other; instead it’s the people’s self-defense” read one sign. “Macron=Louis XVI, Le Pen=Le Pen,” read another.
Video showed riot police surrounding the protesters disrupting the march after isolating most of them from the rest of the crowd near the Place de la Bastille. However, some continued to lob firebombs that exploded into flames in the street.
The union activists continued to march separately, although police are interrupting to check bags for gasoline bombs.