May 1st Under Pressure: Radicals Promise a “Day of Apocalypse”

General News
Demonstrations are expected all over the country for May 1st

This Wednesday, May 1st, on the occasion of Labour Day and union parades, the government fears violence from “black blocs” and yellow Vests radicals.

Of trade union demonstrations and yellow jackets are scheduled all over France for this Labor Day . It is once again likely to be spoiled by radicals promising an “Apocalypse Day”, which the executive hopes to avoid with a serious security device.

From 07:30 in the capital, twenty police mobilized Station Saint-Lazare began to carry out random checks of bags among the few people present at the entrance of the building.

Hundreds of protesters began to flock, including via Montparnasse station.

Parades are expected in Normandy , or in Occitanie .

Several arrests

On Tuesday, Emmanuel Macron claimed that the response to “black blocs” is “extremely firm” in case of violence on Wednesday, after calls on social networks to turn Paris into “capital of the riot” and a May 1 “Black and yellow”.

“Pre-checks” and “arrests” took place on Tuesday. In the night, three Spanish nationals, in possession of gas cylinders and knives, were placed in police custody

7400 police and gendarmes in Paris

More than 7,400 police and gendarmes will be deployed to secure protests in Paris , where “1,000 to 2,000 radical activists” are expected, according to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

The spotlight is on the capital, which has often been the scene of spectacular excesses since the beginning of the “yellow vests” movement.

And already last year, May 1, 1200 radical activists had disrupted the demonstration in Paris from end to end with violent clashes, after announcing a “day in hell”. A total of 109 people were placed in police custody, about thirty degraded or burned shops and burned vehicles.

In front of the Rotunda and the Contrescarpe

This Wednesday, the Paris union procession, at the call of the CGT, FSU, Solidaires, UNEF, UNL and FO, will start at 2.30pm from Montparnasse to the place of Italy.

He will pass by La Rotonde brewery, a Macronist “symbol” where En Marche’s candidate had celebrated his qualification in the second round of the presidential election.

“We are not afraid of the union processions but yellow vests and block blaks”, summarized yesterday the owner, Serge Tafanel, fearing that his brewery will suffer the “fate of Fouquet’s”, looted and burned during the Act 18 of the “yellow vests” on March 16th.

In the end, the parade will skirt the place of the Contrescarpe, another “symbol” of macronism, where just a year ago the former advisor of the Elysee Alexander Benalla had brutally arrested a couple.

The prefect of police ordered the closing of the shops and the prohibition of parking along the route. A total of 190 motorcycles will circulate around the demonstrations and drones will also serve to secure the parade.

“Pre-checks” and “arrests” took place on Tuesday.


Unions do not want their demands blurred by violence. Disappointed by the announcements last week of the President of the Republic, aimed at calming the growl of yellow jackets and valued by Bercy at 17 billion euros, they demand including increased purchasing power.

“May 1st is the gathering of all those who have been demonstrating for months and months,” said CGT Secretary General Philippe Martinez, who will hit the streets in Paris.

With this day, the unions, eclipsed for some months by the “yellow vests”, hope to regain visibility.

But once again, they will manifest in a scattered order, failing to renew the 2002 parade to “block” Jean-Marie Le Pen.

“Our comrades are reluctant to protest”

The “reformists” CFDT, CFTC, Unsa, with the youth organization Fage, will organize a clean mobilization in the morning on the Place de l’Odeon, also in Paris, with the slogan “for a social and environmental Europe “.

For its part, the number one Force Ouvrière, Yves Veyrier, will attend a meeting of his union in Marseille. Like Philippe Martinez, he is worried about the impact of the repeated violence during the demonstrations on the mobilization of activists since the labor law in 2016, assuring that “comrades are reluctant to come and demonstrate”.

In the region, several prefectures have announced bans to march in the city center, as in Caen or Lyon.

Last year, the demonstrations gathered 210 000 people in France according to the CGT, 143 500 according to the Ministry of the Interior. In Paris, the police had identified 20,000 protesters (the CGT 55,000) in the trade union procession and 14,500 non-processional members.

The trade unions will lead their traditional protest on May 1st
The General Secretary of the CGT, Philippe Martinez (left) and that of Force Ouvrière, Yves Veyrier, during a unitary mobilization in Paris, March 19, 2019. (© AFP / Archives / Philippe LOPEZ)


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