France burns as furious anti-Macron protests spark chaos in Paris

Collection of images from France protests

Violent protests broke out in France

Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey

Published: 01/05/2023

- 16:03

Updated: 02/05/2023

- 15:30

As many as a million people are thought to have taken to the streets in Paris and other cities across France

Chaos broke out on the streets of Paris today, as French protesters rioted over Emmanuel Macron's plans to reform the country's state pension.

Police were pelted with projectiles, ride-sharing bicycles were torched and bus stops smashed up as a union-led march got underway from the central Place de la Republique.

Macron is facing a sustained period of civil unrest with intense anger felt among French workers at legislation to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64.

As many as a million people are thought to have taken to the streets in Paris and other cities across France in anger.

Car on fire in Nantes, France

Cars were torched by protesters on the streets


Images of demonstrations show fire blazing in the middle of streets with police in riot gear firing tear gas at protesters in a bid to restore clam amongst the chaos.

The French President enacted reform of the state pension last month, without a vote in the country's parliament.

Macron took the decision to use executive power to force through the reforms with knowledge that he would fail to pass the law in a vote.

His actions have driven his popularity down to near the record lows seen during the "Yellow Vest" crisis of 2018-2019.

Smoke in a French street

Police used tear gas to fight back against those rioting


The reform has crystallised discontent against a president perceived by many as aloof and indifferent to their daily hardships, and he has been met during walkabouts by heckling and pot banging.

Sophie Binet, leader of the hard-left CGT union, said today's protests were proof that Macron must listen to the demands being made by French workers.

She said: "This May 1 will be a milestone.

"It will serve to say that we will not move on until this [pension] reform is withdrawn."

Macron has suffered several weeks of protests over his pension reforms


Meanwhile, Laurent Berger, head of the reform-minded CFDT trade union, said Macron's government had been deaf to the demands of one of the most powerful social movements in decades.

As well as in Paris, clashes between protesters and police also erupted in Lyon and in Nantes.

Several vehicles were set ablaze and some business premises were trashed.

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