Paris' May Day | Gilets Jaunes + Black Bloc
PARIS, 1st of May 2019 -
Traditionally a union-led day of action in the country, this year's event brought both the „Gilets Jaunes“ (Yellow vests movement) and so-called "Black Bloc" of anarchist protesters onto the streets. According to France's Interior Ministry, 151.000 protesters have joined protests across the country, compared to 143.500 last year. In Paris they number 20.000 according to stats released by the French government, but the labor union CGT puts the figure much higher: 55,000 protesters.
Some smashed shop windows and threw projectiles at the more than 7,000 officers deployed. Police responded with tear gas and water cannon, and arrested 380 people. About 38 people were wounded, including 14 officers. A photographer of the ECPAD (media agency of the French department of defense) and a police officer was hit in the head with a paving stone.
Many protesters have joined from the yellow-vest movement, which has been protesting every weekend for months. French President Emmanuel Macron has made a series of concessions to the movement which has been fuelled by the high cost of living - most recently with a wave of tax cuts. One demonstrator, said the concessions had not made a difference. "We've been trying to fight, to make ourselves heard for six months and nobody cares," she told Reuters news agency. "People don't understand the movement though it seems pretty simple: we just want to live normally."