More than 120,000 take part in May Day protests across France, dozens arrested

French police said they arrested 45 people in Paris and that 12 officers had been injured during traditional May Day protests on Wednesday, though the demonstrations were far more subdued than last year.

Riot police used tear gas and batons to disperse some of the demonstrators. Police put the number of protesters in the French capital at about 18,000, though the hard-left CGT union put the figure at around 50,000.

Protesters were mainly angry about the cost of living and reform of unemployment benefits, though some also waved Palestinians flags to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Police said a total of around 121,000 protesters took part in May Day rallies across France, while the CGT gave the figure of 200,000.

That is still well below the more than two million people the union said had taken part in the May Day protests of 2023, which were augmented by strong opposition to French President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms that have now been enacted.

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