Bastille Day protests threatened to boil over into violence at the end of Donald Trump’s visit to Paris, as his opponents took to the streets for the second consecutive day.
Mask-wearing demonstrators threw glass bottles and missiles at lines of riot police blocking roads near the French capital’s Gare du Nord station, stopping a huge march in its tracks.
Tensions rose as demonstrators attempted to push forward using a lorry and reinforcements arrived armed with tear gas, but the stalemate ended when police abruptly pulled back and let the march continue.
It was a tense end to a previously upbeat protest, encompassing a diverse range of anti-Trump activists as well as socialists, pro-Palestinian groups, migrants’ rights activists, environmentalists and anti-fascists.
“No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” chanted marchers holding “Make The Planet Great Again” signs, shortly after Mr Trump and his entourage left Paris following grand Bastille Day celebrations with Emmanuel Macron.
Lisa Gilmore, an American tourist holding an ironic placard calling herself a “paid protester”, said: “We feel he does not represent us, we don’t want people to think that he does and we’re doing everything we can to get him out office.”
Her friend, Julia Hartlé, called the US President “hostile to the planet”, while Californian Lori Chapin said his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement was the “icing on the cake”.
“I’ve thought he was a buffoon for 25 years and when he became President I was embarrassed for my country and the world,” the 63-year-old added.
But the ire of most French marchers was directed mainly at Mr Macron and his policies on workers’ rights, the economy, conflict and the country’s ongoing state of emergency.
The Front Social accused the French President of “parading as a war chief” at the Bastille Day military parade “with the racist and misogynistic US President as his accomplice”.
After the initial relief brought by Marine Le Pen’s defeat in the French presidential election, there is widespread dissatisfaction with Mr Macron on the French left.
Florent, an activist with the New Anticapitalist Party who did not want his surname to be published, said he was opposing Mr Macron’s planned labour reforms.
“He is right wing and I think he is starting to realise that he will be getting a lot of trouble,” he added.