Police in Paris faced a violent onslaught last night as hooded thugs threw petrol bombs and stones at them in what they claimed was a protest against the general election.
A peaceful May Day union march in the French capital quickly turned into a dangerous assault on law and order officers, forcing them to retaliate with tear gas and truncheons. One riot officer was engulfed in flames (pictured) during the attack. A total of six police were injured in the clash.
On Sunday voters will choose between pro-EU presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, youthful leader of the newly created En Marche! movement, and anti-EU/anti-immigration National Front leader Marine Le Pen.
The election is being described by some as the most bitter contest in living memory. According to some polls, Le Pen trails Macron by up to 20 percentage points.
The violence began near Place de la Bastille as the march, led by three trade unions, headed towards another square.
Commenting on the scenes, Le Pen said on Twitter: “This is the sort of mess… that I no longer want to see on our streets.”
Last night Macron addressed a rally in Paris at which he told supporters that the future of France, of Europe “and of a certain concept of the world”, was at stake in the election.