A giant mask depicting French President Emmanuel Macron is burned during a demonstration in Paris, Tuesday, May 22, 2018. French public services workers have gone on strike as part of their protest a government plan to cut 120,000 jobs by 2022. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Tear gas, broken windows disrupt Paris labor march

May 22, 2018 - 4:14 pm

PARIS (AP) — Clashes between police and groups of masked youths erupted Tuesday on the sidelines of a labor march in Paris, forcing protesting civil servants to stand clear of flying debris and tear gas canisters.

About 200 young people from outside the authorized trade union demonstration took position ahead of the march in the afternoon. Many had their faces covered with ski masks or balaclavas.

Some of the young people smashed shop windows and threw debris at officers, who repeatedly charged the interlopers and used tear gas and bludgeons to disperse them, according to video journalists for The Associated Press

The police said they detained 20 people and that eight people, including two police officers, were slightly injured.

Participants in the trade union protest had to suspend the march until the mayhem around them stopped. They finally reached the end point of their march, on the Place de la Nation in eastern Paris, where some demonstrators burned a giant paper mache effigy of French President Emmanuel Macron.

When the march dispersed, several dozen people entered a nearby high school. Police said they intervened to end the improvised occupation and evacuated the school premises.

French public service workers are striking to protest a government plan to cut 120,000 jobs by 2022. Nine unions are also seeking higher wages and are denouncing the increasing use of short-term contracts in public services.

The strike on Tuesday was the third nationwide work stoppage staged by public workers since Macron was elected a year ago.

Hundreds of flights to and from France were canceled since French air traffic controllers walked off their jobs.

In his campaign for the presidency, Macron promised to reduce public spending and overhaul the country's labor laws.

The government is in discussions with unions has said it intends to legislate labor reforms next year.