Thousands of people demonstrated in central Paris on Saturday amid a heavy police presence to protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s sweeping reforms, a year after he came to office.

Some 2,000 security forces including riot police were deployed as marchers gathered from midday in warm early summer sunshine in the central Opera square for a protest dubbed a “Party for Macron”, a tongue-in-cheek “celebration” of the 40-year-old centrist’s first anniversary in power.

Smaller rallies took place in the southern cities of Toulouse and Bordeaux while the Paris variant kicked off with a mass picnic which drew numerous families.

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Organisers had urged participants to attend in a party mood — but the high security owed much to hundreds of black-clad youths having torched cars and a McDonald’s restaurant during traditional May 1 demonstrations in the capital, prompting fears that more “black bloc” protesters could hijack Saturday’s event.

One protester held aloft a placard with the words Mac-ron is disgusting,” a play on words to show his feelings about the president and the fast food chain.

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