Police arrest dozens at Paris May Day protests

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

French riot police have used water cannons and tear gas on violent protesters during a May Day riot in Paris that has been described as the "worst violence since 1968".

Paris police chief Michel Delpuech told a news conference late on Tuesday that more than 200 anarchists were arrested and four people, including a police officer, were lightly wounded in the ensuing disturbances.

President Emmanuel Macron, elected last May on a promise to shake up France's creaking economy and spur jobs growth, is locked in a battle with the trade unions over his plans to liberalize labor regulations.

"Everything will be done so that the perpetrators are identified and held responsible for their actions".

A McDonald's restaurant and Renault garage in the east of the city were ransacked and set alight, while riot police were attacked with rocks. He added: 'When you have honest convictions, you demonstrate with your face unmasked.

"Those who wear hoods are the enemies of democracy", government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said after the violence, according to Reuters.

Photos show anarchists marching with flares and banners, before hooded protesters throw missiles at police.

"When you come with Molotov cocktails, it's to burn cops", a police union official said, according to Reuters. "When you come with Molotov cocktails, it's to burn cops", he said, citing clashes on May 1 previous year in which one police officer was seriously burnt. Police estimated 20,000 people gathered for the protest, but unions suggested the number was closer to 55,000, the report said.

Social media posts had announced that yesterday would be a "Revolutionary Day" to coincide with other demonstrations across Europe. Rail staff have begun three months of nationwide strikes over a planned overhaul of state-run railway SNCF.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who is now visiting Australia, condemned the protesters on Twitter.

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