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French police clash with anti-police protestors

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PARIS (AP) — French police took to the streets Wednesday in about 60 cities across France to denounce the hatred and violence they say is being repeatedly directed at them during near-daily protests against labor reforms.

In Paris, a few hundred police officers gathered on the Republic Plaza during their lunch break. Several hundred counter-demonstrators came by, chanting slogans like “Everybody hates the police!” and pushing up against the officers until eventually the police deployed dispersal spray.

Police officers listen to a colleague during a protest in Lyon, central France, Wednesday, May 18, 2016. French police took to the streets Wednesday in about 60 cities across France to denounce the hatred and violence they say is being repeatedly directed at them during near-daily protests against labor reforms. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Police officers listen to a colleague during a protest in Lyon, central France, Wednesday, May 18, 2016. French police took to the streets Wednesday in about 60 cities across France to denounce the hatred and violence they say is being repeatedly directed at them during near-daily protests against labor reforms. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

Some counter-protesters set fire to a police car in a street nearby.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says he is offering his “full support” to police following the weekly Cabinet Council meeting. He said the police have instructions to take “firm action” against those who take part in violent clashes.

French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday that over 350 police officers have been injured in clashes and 60 people have been convicted amid the labor reform protests.

Riot police officers face anti-police protesters before a police gathering to denounce the almost daily violent clashes at protests against a labor reform, Wednesday, May 18, 2016. French police are taking to the streets to protest against what they describe as hatred directed at them. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Riot police officers face anti-police protesters before a police gathering to denounce the almost daily violent clashes at protests against a labor reform, Wednesday, May 18, 2016. French police are taking to the streets to protest against what they describe as hatred directed at them. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

“Anti-cop hatred comes from a small portion of the population… but these 10 percent that are very violent,” Jean-Marc Falcone, general director of the police, told Europe 1 radio.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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