A march by French health workers calling for better pay and working conditions because of the coronavirus crisis descended into street violence in Paris on Tuesday.
Riot police used tear gas and baton charges as they fought with protesters by Les Invalides in the centre of the city on Tuesday afternoon.
By 4pm there had been 16 arrests, and ‘disturbances were ongoing,’ said a spokesman for the Paris police prefecture.
Thousands including doctors and nurses had taken to the streets to rally for a better deal from the government.
‘It appears that the main march was infiltrated by radicals who wanted to take on the police,’ said one of the protesters.
‘They began throwing missiles at officers, who responded in a manner that was very heavy handed.’
A car was turned over at one point, with demonstrators hiding behind it as they goaded the police.
Hundreds of youths then made their way on to the large grass field in front of Les Invalides, where some of the worst fighting took place.
There, police snatch squads cold be seen rushing into the crowd to make arrests, as tear gas swirled everywhere. Fires were also started in waste bins.