THOUSANDS of people marched against Emmanuel Macron’s public sector reforms today, with protests descending into ugly scenes as riot police were deployed in Paris.

Strikes were held in a number of cities across France as civil servants, teachers and nurses marched in places like Toulouse, Strasbourg and the capital Paris.

They marched to mark their opposition to the social and economic reforms the President is attempting to introduce which he says will unlock economic growth and put public finances on a more sustainable footing.

Ugly scenes of violence broke out in the French capital, including the smashing of a bank’s windows by marked protestors were met with riot police armed with shields and batons.

It is the first time in a decade that all unions representing more than 5 million public workers have rallied behind a protest call.

Turnout is an important indicator of public appetite for protest against Mr Macron’s social and economic reforms, which the former investment banker says are needed to put public finances on a more sustainable footing.

While unions said some 400,000 people turned out across the country, police estimates across cities appeared substantially lower than the unions.

The interior ministry has yet to communicate a figure, but the economy ministry said some just 14 percent of state civil servants had been on strike and just 9.5 per cent in local administration.

Protests last month against labour law reform that were led by private sector unions failed to persuade Macron to change policy course, but the French labour movement has traditionally been more muscular in the public sector.