France’s Macron condemns violence at May Day rally in Paris

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French President Emmanuel Macron condemned on Wednesday the violence that erupted at a May Day rally in Paris.

Hundreds of masked and hooded anarchists smashed shop windows, torched cars and hurled cobblestones at riot police on Tuesday, hijacking a May Day rally by labour unions against President Emmanuel Macron’s economic reforms.

Riot police used teargas and water cannon to disperse the protesters.

Paris police chief Michel Delpuech said more than 200 demonstrators had been arrested and four people were lightly injured in the clashes, including a police officer.

Macron is on a state visit to Australia and commented briefly on the clashes during a joint news conference with Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney. He said he “strongly condemned” what happened but did not elaborate.

Authorities said around 1 200 protesters, many wearing black, had turned up on the sidelines of the annual May Day demonstration.

The protesters were from far-left anarchist groups known as Black Blocs, police said.