My mum and I left home with black masks—May Day 2023 was going to be warm and sunny with a high chance of tear gas and grenade.
These days, every single protest in France turns violent, even the classic trade union-led May Day marches. I guess that’s what happens when the government invests in police forces and stockpiles riot control agents instead of investing in culture and education…
We were hoping for an historical May 1 nationwide considering most of the country is still very pissed off with the recent pension reform. This is exactly what happened. In Nantes, over 80,000 showed up.
We ended up marching with the black-clad anarchists, lovely folks who have it figured out as you will see from the pictures below. Don’t get fooled by the umbrella—it was hot and sunny, umbrellas are used as shields against tear gas and grenades.
I don’t throw projectiles but I have decent urban guerilla skills and it was fun to document the six-hour-long (!) protest through the city.