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News24.com | WATCH | Violence Erupts in May Day Protests in Paris, Marchers Criticise Re-elected Macron

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The protests in Paris were against the policies of newly re-elected President Emmanuel Macron.Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 29 people have been arrested so far.The protesters ransacked a McDonald’s restaurant and also trashed several real estate agencies.

Police fired tear gas to push back black-clad anarchists who ransacked business premises in the French capital Paris on Sunday during May Day protests against the policies of newly re-elected President Emmanuel Macron.

Thousands of people joined May Day marches across France in which they called for salary increases and for Macron to drop his plan to raise the retirement age.

Most were peaceful but violence broke out in Paris, where police had made 29 arrests so far, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Twitter.

Clashes with police broke out at the start of the march near La Republique Square and when it reached La Nation Square in eastern Paris.

“Black Bloc” anarchists ransacked a McDonald’s restaurant on the Place Leon Blum and trashed several real estate agencies, breaking their windows and setting garbage bins on fire.

Police said activists had even attacked firemen, trying to put out fires. Police responded by firing tear gas.

French riot police forces take security measures during the annual May Day (Labor Day) rally in Paris, France on May 1, 2022. (Photo by Sathiri Kelpa/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

About 250 rallies were organised in Paris and other cities including Lille, Nantes, Toulouse and Marseille. In the capital, trade unionists were joined by political figures – mostly from the left – and climate activists.

The cost of living was the main theme in the presidential election campaign and looks set to be equally prominent ahead of June legislative elections that Macron’s party and its allies must win if he is to be able to implement his pro-business policies, including increasing retirement age to 65 for 62

Joshua Antunes, a 19-year-old student said: 

It is important to show Macron and the whole political world that we are prepared to defend our social rights.

Marchers carried banners reading “Retirement Before Arthritis”, “Retirement at 60, Freeze Prices” and “Macron, Get Out”

“The government has got to deal with the purchasing power problem by raising wages,” Philippe Martinez, the head of the hardline CGT union, told Reuters before the rallies.

Macron won a new five-year presidential term after beating far-right challenger Marine Le Pen in last Sunday’s runoff vote.

Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, who came third in the first round of the presidential vote, was attended the Paris march.

He wants to rally a union of the left, including the Greens, to dominate parliament and force Macron into an awkward “cohabitation” but so far this has not materialised.

“We will not make a single concession on pensions,” Melenchon said before the march started.

A protester holds a banner that translates as Empty fridge! No more! at a burning barricade during a May Day march marking International Workers Day on May 01, 2022, in Paris, France. (Photo by Sam Tarling/Getty Images)

He said he still hoped an agreement to build a new union of the left could be reached by this evening.

Unlike in previous years, Marine Le Pen did not lay a wreath in Paris at the statue of Joan or Arc, whom her party uses as a nationalist symbol. She was replaced by the Rassemblement National Interim President Jordan Bardella, who said Le Pen was preparing for the legislative elections.

Le Pen urged voters in a video message to elect as many deputies from her party as possible in June so that she could “protect your purchasing power,” and prevent Macron from carrying a “harmful project for France and the French people”

The parliamentary elections will be held on 12 and 19 June.

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News24.com | Thousands Protest in Madrid Against NATO Summit

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A crowd demonstrates against NATO.

Photo by Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto

Carrying the hammer and sickle flags of the former Soviet Union, thousands protested in Madrid on Sunday against a NATO summit which will take place in the Spanish capital next week.

Amid tight security, leaders of the member countries will meet in Madrid between 29-30 June as the organisation faces the unprecedented challenge of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

NATO is expected to consider the bid, opposed by alliance-member Turkey, for Finland and Sweden to join.

The Nordic nations applied in the wake of the Russian assault on Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the war a special military operation he says in part responds to the accession to NATO of other countries near post-Soviet Russia’s borders since the 1990s.

READ | Biden said Putin’s goal of weakening NATO by invading Ukraine backfired spectacularly

“Tanks yes, but of beer with tapas,” sang demonstrators, who claimed an increase in defence spending in Europe urged by NATO was a threat to peace.

“I am fed up (with) this business of arms and killing people. The solution they propose is more arms and wars and we always pay for it. So, no NATO, no (army) bases, let the Americans go and leave us alone without wars and weapons,” said Concha Hoyos, a retired Madrid resident, told Reuters.

Another protester, Jaled, 29, said NATO was not the solution to the war in Ukraine.

Organisers claimed 5,000 people joined the march, but authorities in Madrid put the number at 2 200.

READ | Pandor says Finland’s bid to join NATO indicates a decline in international security

Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that the summit would also focus on the threat from Europe’s southern flank in Africa, in which he said Russia posed a threat to Europe.

“The foreign ministers’ dinner on the 29th will be centred on the southern flank,” he told El Pais newspaper.

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News24.com | Turkey Police Break up Istanbul Pride March, Detain Dozens: AFP

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Hakan Akgun/dia images

Turkish police on Sunday forcibly intervened in a Pride march in Istanbul, detaining dozens of demonstrators and an AFP photographer, AFP journalists on the ground said.

The governor’s office had banned the march around Taksim square in the heart of Istanbul but protesters gathered nearby under heavy police presence earlier than scheduled.

Police detained protesters, loading them into buses. AFP journalists saw two buses of people who had been held, including AFP’s chief photographer Bulent Kilic, who had been handcuffed from the back.

Kilic, who was also detained last year during the Pride march, is currently in police custody.

Hundreds of protesters carrying rainbow flags pressed ahead with the rally in defiance of police.

Although homosexuality has been legal throughout the period of the modern Turkish republic, LGBTQ individuals point to regular harassment and abuse.

Istanbul Pride has taken place every year since 2003.

The last march which took place without a ban – in 2014 – drew tens of thousands of participants in one of the biggest LGBTQ events in the majority Muslim region.

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News24.com | NASA Blasts Off From Australian Outback in ‘historic’ Launch

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NASA’s first-ever launch from a commercial site outside of the United States blasted off from Australia’s Outback late Sunday, in a “historic” moment for the country’s space industry.

In the first of three planned launches from the Arnhem Space Centre, the rocket, carrying technology likened to a “mini Hubble” telescope, lifted off — blasted about 350 kilometres (218 miles) into the night sky.

“It is a momentous occasion for us as a company in particular, but it’s historic for Australia,” Equatorial Launch Australia CEO Michael Jones told AFP ahead of the lift-off.

Jones, whose company owns and operates the launch site in the far north of Australia, described it as a “coming out” party for the country’s space industry and said the chance to work with NASA was a milestone for commercial space firms in the country.

After a series of rain and wind delays, the suborbital sounding rocket soared into the sky to study x-rays emanating from the Alpha Centauri A and B systems.

After reaching its apogee, the rocket’s payload was to capture data on the star systems before parachuting back to earth.

READ | NASA is slowly powering down the Voyager probes. Here are 18 photos from its 45-year mission.

According to NASA, the launch offers a unique glimpse of the distant systems and unlocked fresh possibilities for scientists.

“We’re excited to be able to launch important science missions from the Southern Hemisphere and see targets that we can’t from the United States,” Nicky Fox, NASA’s Heliophysics Division director in Washington, said on announcing the mission.

Jones said the unique location had made preparations hard, with years of work to get regulatory approval and the need to haul rockets on barges to the launch site – about 28 hours drive from Darwin in northern Australia.

“I think for the team, it’s gonna be, you know, a huge relief that it’s done,” he said.

READ | ‘Giant leap forward’ – South Korea space rocket launch puts satellites in orbit

But with the next launch already looming on July 4, the break would be short-lived.

“We need to, you know, dust ourselves off, take a day off and then get back into it in readiness for the next launch because it’s just as important.”

It is the first NASA rocket to launch from Australia since 1995, and the project was hailed as the start of a “new era” for the country’s space industry by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

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