French authorities have fired tear gas at crowds as violent scuffles with May Day protesters broke out in Paris on Wednesday.

Thousands of Parisians typically join the annual demonstrations, held to mark International Workers’ Day on May 1 which is observed around the globe.

Pandemonium broke out in the Montparnasse area of the French capital where scores of demonstrators gathered en masse before the parade had started.

CNN saw one male protester get injured before being helped away, while others threw rocks and other objects at police.

Some in the crowd wore the hi-vis jackets of the “yellow vest” movement that has staged months of furious demonstrations against the government of President Emmanuel Macron. Others donned helmets and gas masks.

An injured protester is assisted by street medics prior to the start of the annual rally.
An injured protester is assisted by street medics prior to the start of the annual rally.

A spokesman for the Paris police prefecture told CNN that 200 people so far have been taken in for questioning over the protests, mostly in relation to violence.

Paris police have braced for large numbers this year and have deployed more than 7,000 officers — a huge increase over the 1,500 on the streets last year.

A 'yellow vest' protester holds a French flag during clashes with police on Wednesday.
A ‘yellow vest’ protester holds a French flag during clashes with police on Wednesday.

The rallies date back to the 1880s, when the day was adopted by socialists and communists of the Second International as labor movements were campaigning for better conditions such as eight-hour workdays and forming trade unions.

As well as the “yellow vests,” representatives from French trade unions and anarchists were expected to take to the streets on Wednesday.