Europe

France decries violent protests that led to more than 200 arrests

April 28, 2016: A protestor is arrested by riot police during a protest against the proposed changes to France's working week and layoff practices, in Lyon, central France.

April 28, 2016: A protestor is arrested by riot police during a protest against the proposed changes to France's working week and layoff practices, in Lyon, central France.  (AP)

French politicians are decrying the violence that erupted at the edges of anti-labor reform protests in Paris and other French cities.

French Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 214 people have been arrested nationwide and 78 police officers suffered injuries during clashes on Thursday.

In all, 961 people have been arrested during protests in the last few months, Cazeneuve said in a speech Friday in the eastern city of Strasbourg.

Paris police overnight evicted anti-reform demonstrators from the "Nuit Debout" ("Night Rising") group from their encampment in the city's Place de la Republique.

French protests are routinely marred by clashes as masked rioters smash shops or pelt riot police with projectiles. But Thursday night's clashes were particularly violent. Paris police said they were challenged by about 100 "particularly virulent" demonstrators while trying to clear Place de la Republique early Thursday.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said while she supports the right to protest, "violence is unacceptable."