French police tear gas hooded youths lobbing Molotov cocktails during May Day protests

May Day march turns into violent anti-Le Pen protestReuters

Tear gas was fired at May Day protestors in Paris, France, some of whom were throwing Molotov cocktails during the march on Monday (1 May). The annual gathering is to celebrate workers' rights but this year was also used as a clarion call to block Marine Le Pen, the far-right presidential candidate.

Video footage showed riot police facing off against protestors near the Place de la Bastille. Some demonstrators threw firebombs which exploded into flames on the streets, filling the air with smoke. According to TV 2, the crowd started chanting: "Resistance! Resistance!"

Protestors clash with riot police during May Day labour union march in ParisReuters

There were loud explosions from firecrackers as several shops and a bus shelter was vandalised. There were no immediate reports of any injuries or arrests.

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As the French candidates continued canvassing supporters, Marine Le Pen attacked current favourite Emmanuel Macron of being a puppet for Islamist fundamentalists and a lapdog of outgoing President Hollande, according to AP.

Le Pen criticised Macron, a former investment banker, as the candidate of the "caviar left" and "moralising snobbery". She claimed that his pro-business policies would not serve French workers.

At Le Pen's rally in the northern quarter of Paris, there were shouts of "Marine President!" and anti-immigrant chants from the crowd of thousands

Macron met up with a Moroccan man whose father had died in 1995 after he was thrown off a Paris bridge by far-right skinheads.

Macron hugged Said Bourram, who was nine when his father was killed. Bourram, who said his father was targeted "because he was a foreigner, an Arab. That is why I am fighting, to say no to racism".

Despite trying to distance herself from her father, Le Pen senior endorsed his daughter, even though she expelled him from Front National (FN), which he co-founded.

Le Pen addressed the crowds in a May Day speech at the foot of the statue of his hero, Joan of Arc, in Paris. The 88-year-old Holocaust denier said in a speech on Monday that "she is not Joan of Arc, but she accepts the same mission… France".

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