French police face off with anarchists on May Day

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STORY: Fires raged on city streets across France during May Day rallies, Monday, as black-clad anarchists clashed with police during union-led protests against French President Emmanuel Macron's controversial pension reform.

In some areas, demonstrators pelted French police with Molotov cocktails and fireworks. Then, police were ‘booed’ as they responded with tear gas.

In Lyon, riot police were seen retreating on a bridge as projectiles were thrown. In another location, they were seen charging forward.

Anarchists also clashed with riot police in the city of Nantes, in front of regional offices and local administration buildings – some of which were burned.

About 200 people were arrested, officials say, as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in protest… After Macron last month raised the retirement age by two years to 64 despite widespread and multi-sector strikes.

The reform, which Macron says is necessary to protect the health of the pension budget, will be implemented gradually starting on September 1st.

But protesters like Clara Bossard say Macron over-stepped:

"I think that democratically, these pension reforms don't represent us. We elected people who were supposed to listen to us, and we realize that we're not really being listened to because there were a lot of us on the streets, and these were reforms adopted by force. And I think this is unjust."

Trade unions had called for a big May Day turnout, as they attempt to force a U-turn by Macron's government - which forced its pension law through without a final vote in the National Assembly.

Opinion polls show a substantial majority of French people oppose the higher retirement age. And many workers say, an out-of-touch Macron is indifferent to their daily hardships.