French police and protesters clashed in Paris on Tuesday after unions – angered by years of public-sector pay cuts and President Emmanuel Macron's economic reforms – urged state employees to stop work and join nationwide street protests.
Riot police charged at protesters with batons in central Paris, firing stun grenades and tear gas. Police said 20 demonstrators were arrested.
About 15,000 people demonstrated, compared with 49,000 during a similar protest in March, authorities said. But union officials say the strike wave, unlike pre-Macron versions that successfully torpedoed attempts to liberalize the economy, appears to be losing steam with workers increasingly doubting they can force the government to change course.
Tuesday's call came from the large labor unions plus many smaller ones and involved the organization of street rallies in about 140 cities, towns and villages across France.
Postal workers, air traffic controllers, state teachers and public administration workers were urged to join marches to denounce what the unions say is an erosion of spending power and public services under Macron.
French electricity grid operator RTE said the strike reduced nuclear electricity generation by 2 gigawatts as several nuclear reactors operated by state-controlled utility EDF were forced to cut production.
A spokeswoman for French EDF said around 15.5 percent of the company's staff participated in the strike.