44 photos

This year’s May 1st Labor Day festivities in Paris were expected to be much larger than normal. For months, there had been many protests over the raising of the Social Security retirement age from 62 to 64. May 1st is a day when workers must all legally be given a paid day off.
I attended the initial gathering in Paris at the Palace de la Republique at noon. The demonstrators were to march about two miles to the Place de la Nation a few hours later.
It was a festive atmosphere. There was lots of food, music and dancing in addition to the protest speakers. People were universally friendly toward this foreigner.
The weather forecast was for clouds but no rain. Surprise! A little after 2 PM, thunder and a pouring of water came out of the sky. I was immediately soaked and could not march along with the people.
Though later in the day there would be violence between some protesters and police, the overwhelming number of attendees were peaceful. The many people who came with their children did not want conflict. However, as with many peaceful demonstrations, there are some who would like to see violence. Maybe you can spot a few of the toughs in the crowd.
I hope my images successfully captured the mood and atmosphere of the gathering and that you enjoy seeing them.