Protests over French labor overhaul grip Paris, other cities

The prominent CGT union called for strikes and organized some 180 marches against labor decrees unveiled last month by President Emmanuel Macron's government. Critics fear the changes reduce job security

France Protests

Workers demonstrate in Marseille, southern France, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. President Emmanuel Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode hard-fought job security. The prominent CGT union is leading Tuesday's protests, calling for strikes across transport and other public sector businesses and planning some 180 demonstrations. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

France Protests

Workers demonstrate in Marseille, southern France, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. President Emmanuel Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode hard-fought job security. The prominent CGT union is leading Tuesday's protests, calling for strikes across transport and other public sector businesses and planning some 180 demonstrations. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

France Protests

Steelworkers from the ArcelorMittal steel plant in Fos-sur-Mer burn flares during a nationwide day of protest against government labor law, in Marseille, southern France, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. President Emmanuel Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode hard-fought job security. The prominent CGT union is leading Tuesday's protests, calling for strikes across transport and other public sector businesses and planning some 180 demonstrations. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

France Protests

Steelworkers from the ArcelorMittal steel plant in Fos-sur-Mer burn flares during a nationwide day of protest against government labor law, in Marseille, southern France, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. President Emmanuel Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode hard-fought job security. The prominent CGT union is leading Tuesday's protests, calling for strikes across transport and other public sector businesses and planning some 180 demonstrations. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

France Protests

Steelworkers from the ArcelorMittal steel plant in Fos-sur-Mer burn flares during a nationwide day of protest against government labor law, in Marseille, southern France, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. President Emmanuel Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode hard-fought job security. The prominent CGT union is leading Tuesday's protests, calling for strikes across transport and other public sector businesses and planning some 180 demonstrations. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

France Protests

A demonstrator holds a placard reading" King Macron, idlers will clear you", during a nationwide day of protest against government labor law, in Marseille, southern France, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. President Emmanuel Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode hard-fought job security. The prominent CGT union is leading Tuesday's protests, calling for strikes across transport and other public sector businesses and planning some 180 demonstrations. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

France Protests

A demonstrator holds a placard reading" Idler and in strike" during a nationwide day of protest against government labor law, in Marseille, southern France, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. President Emmanuel Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode hard-fought job security. The prominent CGT union is leading Tuesday's protests, calling for strikes across transport and other public sector businesses and planning some 180 demonstrations. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

France Protests

Protestors march against President Emmanuel Macron's new pro-business labor policies in Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode job security. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

France Protests

A protestor holding a flare marches against President Emmanuel Macron's new pro-business labor policies in Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode job security. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

France Protests

A protestor holding a flare marches against President Emmanuel Macron's new pro-business labor policies in Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode job security. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

France Protests

A band plays during a march against President Emmanuel Macron's new pro-business labor policies in Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode job security. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

France Protests

Protestors with their faces covered march against President Emmanuel Macron's new pro-business labor policies in Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode job security. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

France Protests

Demonstrators take cover after clashing with police during a protest march against President Emmanuel Macron's new pro-business labor policies in Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode job security. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

France Protests

A naked demonstrator sings during a protest march against President Emmanuel Macron's new pro-business labor policies in Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode job security. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

France Protests

A demonstrator throws a stone during clashes with police during a protest march against President Emmanuel Macron's new pro-business labor policies in Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode job security. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

France Protests

Demonstrators take cover after clashing with police during a protest march against President Emmanuel Macron's new pro-business labor policies in Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode job security. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

France Protests

Demonstrators gesture after clashing with police during a protest march against President Emmanuel Macron's new pro-business labor policies in Paris, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode job security. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

PARIS | The Eiffel Tower saw service cutbacks, angry carnival workers snarled traffic around the Arc de Triomphe and police used water cannon and tear gas as unions held protests in Paris and elsewhere Tuesday against planned changes to French labor laws.

The prominent CGT union called for strikes and organized some 180 marches against labor decrees unveiled last month by President Emmanuel Macron’s government. Critics fear the changes reduce job security.

The union said 60,000 people participated in the Paris protest. Police said 24,000 people marched and that several hundred hooded youths who joined late in the day pelted security forces with objects, briefly halting the event.

Officers responded with tear gas and water cannon. A police statement said four people were detained and one person with a minor injury was taken to a hospital.

The protests were the first big public display of discontent with Macron’s presidency, which kicked off in May amid enthusiasm over his promises of revving up the French economy but is now foundering amid anger over the labor decrees and other domestic troubles.

The Eiffel Tower was affected by the union-organized protests, with afternoon viewing limited to the first floor, which visitors had to access by a stairway.

Horn-tooting funfair workers held a separate protest movement Tuesday against legal changes they say favor big corporations and could wipe out their centuries-old industry.

Dozens of big rigs drove at a snail’s pace around the Arc de Triomphe, causing rush-hour traffic snarls as protesters danced and waved flags on a flat-bed truck with a severed plastic head from a funfair ride.

The workers said they timed their protest to coincide with Tuesday’s broader labor demonstrations, since both movements were about workers fearing their jobs are at threat.

“Everybody likes funfairs. Everybody has been to a funfair one time in his life,” bumper car worker Sam Frechon said. “Funfair is France.”

Meanwhile, thousands of union activists marched Tuesday morning in the Mediterranean city of Marseille, in Le Havre on the English Channel and other cities.

Extra police officers were deployed to the afternoon march in Paris. While union marches are usually peaceful, troublemakers on the margins often clash with police. A broad movement against similar labor reforms last year saw several weeks of scattered violence.

Macron’s labor decrees — which reduce the power of unions and give companies more authority to fire workers and influence workplace rules — are the first step in what he hopes are deep economic changes. The decrees are to be finalized this month.

Critics say they dismantle hard-fought worker protections and accuse the government of being undemocratic for using a special method to push the decrees through parliament.

Companies argue that existing rules prevent them from hiring and contribute to France’s high unemployment rate, currently around 10 percent.

The protests come amid anger at a comment last week by Macron suggesting that opponents of labor reform are “lazy.”

Government spokesman Christophe Castaner said on RTL radio Tuesday that the president didn’t mean workers themselves but politicians who failed to update French labor rules for a globalized age.

Some unions refused to join the protests, preferring to negotiate with the government over upcoming changes to unemployment and retirement rules instead of taking their grievances to the street.

Macron himself chose Tuesday to go to the French Caribbean to bring aid and meet with victims of Hurricane Irma.

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John Leicester, Angela Charlton and Elaine Ganley contributed to this report.