An activist kicks away a tear gas canister during a May Day demonstration in Paris, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Brief scuffles between police and protesters have broken out in Paris as thousands of people gather for May Day rallies under tight security measures. Police used tear gas to control the crowd gathering near Paris' Montparnasse train station. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

French police clash with May Day protesters on Paris streets

May 01, 2019 - 8:06 am

PARIS (AP) — French police clashed with stone-throwing protesters who set fires and smashed up vehicles as thousands of people gathered for May Day rallies Wednesday under tight security. About 165 arrests were made.

Police repeatedly used tear gas to try to control the crowd gathering near Paris' Montparnasse train station for the main protest. It wasn't immediately clear how many people were injured. One bandaged-up man with a head wound was helped away from the scene by paramedics.

Associated Press reporters saw groups of hooded, black-clad people shouting anti-police slogans, mixing with other protesters wearing yellow vests or waving union flags.

Some threw rocks and other objects at police officers, attacked a parked van in a nearby street, kicking the vehicle and breaking its windows.

Paris police said officers carried out more than 9,000 "preventive searches" of bags and arrested 165 people before the march.

Meanwhile, some peaceful protesters were waiting for the march to start. They were planning to head toward Place d'Italie in southern Paris.

French authorities have warned "radical activists" may join the Paris demonstration and renew scenes of violence that marked previous yellow vest protests and May Day demonstrations in the past two years.

More than 7,400 police are deployed in the French capital.

French police ordered the closure of more than 580 shops, restaurants and cafes on the Paris protest route and numerous subway stations were shut.

Yellow vests have joined the traditional May Day union march to show their common rejection of President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies.

Authorities are particularly wary of the black-clad, masked and hooded extremists who have joined recent protests with the express goal of attacking police and damaging property. They often target symbols of capitalism or globalization, and turned out in the hundreds at last year's May Day protest.

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