Students and workers held street protests across France against the government's proposed labour reforms. While most demonstrations were peaceful, some turned violent. Hooded and masked protesters hurled paint bombs at banks and shops in eastern Paris. Some smashed cash machines with bats or set off smoke canisters while confronting the police.

France student protests
Protesting students clash with riot police in eastern Paris, near Gare de Lyon stationThomas Samson/AFP
France student protests
A French student holds a Communist Party flag during a demonstration in ParisChristian Hartmann/Reuters
France student protests
French riot police confront protesters during a demonstration against labour law reforms in the French capitalThomas Samson/AFP
France student protests
Protesters confront French riot police during a demonstration by unions and students close to the Gare de LyonThomas Samson/AFP
France student protests
French riot police protect themselves behind shields during a demonstration by high school and university studentsChristian Hartmann/Reuters
France student protests
A man has his haircut at a hairdressers, as French riot police gather during a demonstration against labour law reforms in the French capitalThomas Samson/AFP
France student protests
Students attend a demonstration against the French labour-law proposal in ParisChristian Hartmann/Reuters
France student protests
French riot police clash with union members and students in ParisThomas Samson/AFP
France student protests
French riot police confront union members and students, demonstrating against labour law reforms, gathered close to Gare de Lyon in the French capitalThomas Samson/AFP
France student protests
French riot police take cover behind their shields during a protest by unions and students in the capitalThomas Samson/AFP
France student protests
Protesters cover their faces from tear gas during clashes with riot police in the French capitalThomas Samson/AFP
France student protests
Protesting students climb on a car in ParisThomas Samson/AFP
France student protests
Students hold banners and smoke grenades as they take part in a protest march in eastern ParisThomas Samson/AFP
France student protests
Students hold a communist flag and smoke grenades as they take part in a protest march in eastern ParisThomas Samson/AFP

Clashes also broke out between a small group of young protesters and the police in the western cities of Nantes and Rennes.

The day of protest, the fourth in a month, has been billed by local media as a make-or-break test of strength for President François Hollande, plagued by low popularity and an unemployment rate stuck stubbornly above 10 percent as mid-2017 elections loom.

France student protests
Students attend a demonstration against the French labour law proposal in Nantes, FranceStephane Mahe/Reuters
France student protests
Protesters march holding a placard reading "Check your Rolex watch, the time of rebellion has come" in Marseille, southern FranceBoris Horvat/AFP
France student protests
Protesters clamber onto the Cantini fountain, at Castellane square in Marseille, during a demonstration against the French government's planned labour law reformsBoris Horvat/AFP
France student protests
Protesters holding a banner gather on the Cantini fountain in MarseilleBoris Horvat/AFP
France student protests
A protester offers flowers to police officers in Caen, northwestern FranceCharly Triballeau/AFP
France student protests
Protesters prepare to launch tear gas canisters back at riot police in Rennes, northwestern FranceJean Francois Monier/AFP
France student protests
Protesters run for cover after riot police launched tear gas in Rennes, northwestern FranceJean Francois Monier/AFP
France student protests
Protesters throw projectiles at riot police in Rennes, northwestern France.Jean Francois Monier/AFP
France student protests
Demonstrators hold a banner reading "Together, we won't give in" during a protest in Valenciennes, northern FranceFrancois Lo Presti/AFP

Train drivers, teachers and others went on strike to reject a government reform to amend the 35-hour working week, among other labour rules. The strike affects schools, public hospitals and state-owned broadcasters – it is not affecting the capital's Charles de Gaulle airport, though 20 percent of flights at Paris' Orly airport have been cancelled.

State railway company SNCF has warned of disruptions to national and regional train traffic though international lines to London and Brussels should not be affected. The Eiffel tower is closed all day with the company operating the monument , in a statement, saying that there is not enough staff to open the tower with "sufficient security and reception conditions".

One of the issues is a proposed overhaul of France's labour code, a set of regulations that bosses claim deters recruitment. Critics say the reforms will lead to worse working conditions and more sackings. However, the Socialist government and businesses claim the reforms would aid the economy by making it easier for companies to hire and fire workers as France's unemployment rate is hovering at 10 percent.