Ongoing French pension protests turned into ugly, fiery street battles that went into the early hours of Friday, injuring around 150 cops and forcing the UK’s King Charles III to scrap his first overseas trip as monarch.
Wild scenes saw black-clad anarchists in running street battles with cops in cities across the European nation on the ninth day of protests against government plans to raise the retirement age by two years to 64.
More than 1 million people protested across the country, with at least 119,000 in the capital, Paris, alone, according to the French Interior Ministry.
Unions put the figure even higher, claiming 3.5 million people marched, with many injured in clashes with cops, including a woman who lost a thumb in the Normandy town of Rouen.
Groups of so-called “Black Bloc” anarchists smashed shop windows and ransacked restaurants throughout the day, with videos showing huge fires raging in numerous French cities.
The main entrance to the town hall in Bordeaux was among the landmarks set ablaze, days before the planned visit there of the UK’s new king.
In Paris, riot police drove back the mobs with tear gas and stun grenades, with clashes continuing into the early hours Friday.
Police also fired tear gas at protesters in several other cities, including Nantes, Lorient and Lille, with a water cannon used against others in Rennes.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said at least 149 police officers were injured and 172 people arrested across the country.
French pension protests turn to fiery riots, forcing King Charles to scrap first overseas trip