May Day Marches Turn Dangerous for Paris

On Tuesday, police arrested a large crowd of masked anarchists and affiliates of black bloc in Paris, France. The rioters burned cars and smashed windows during the May Day rally.

Once a spring festival in pagan European cultures, May Day has turned into an international day for marching in the name of worker rights. However, since at least the 19th century, the celebrations have been a regular invitation to violence.

Paris had the most amount of marches this year. They numbered between 20,000 and 55,000 in the capital. Their intent was for a peaceful march against President Emmanuel Macron and his plan to roll back labor protections. Nearly 1,200 masked and hooded protesters stood on the sidelines of the protest.

May Day Celebrations and Their Tendencies Towards Violence

The sidelines held anarchists and antifascists while others waved Soviet flags. Some didn’t like the gathering of far-right European leaders in that country on the same day. And the May Day festivities tipped into violence.

Colored smoke bombs rose up in the air along with tear gas, police water cannons, and even petrol bombs. During the ruckus, cars were set aflame, a McDonald’s windows were smashed, and many other shops were looted. 200 people were arrested according to Reuters.

Four people, one of them being a police officer, suffered minor wounds. A police officer stated that the only use for a Molotov cocktail is to burn a cop. It is important to note that protesters could target the buildings to avoid any provoked attacks against people.

Two years ago during May Day celebrations, people were angry at the unemployment rate in France as well as their unpopular and socialist president. They had turned Paris’s Place de la Republique into chaos.

Across the globe, other countries rallied against injustices.

Cities across the United States planned gatherings to protest President Trump’s immigration policies. Thousands in Puerto Rico marched against the government. Because tens of thousands of homes still do not have power months after Hurricane Maria hit in September, the citizens are becoming more frustrated by the day.

The AP listed other countries as well. Cambodian garment workers rallied while in Istanbul, police detained protesters, forbidding them from marching in the main square. They forbade it because in 1977 on May Day, 34 people were shot dead.