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Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigette attend Lily of Valley ceremony at Elysee Palace

Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte attend Lily of Valley ceremony at Elysee Palace as France prepares to ease its third lockdown on Monday

  • The couple wore masks during the traditional May 1 event at the Elysee Palace
  • It comes ahead of the latest unwinding of the country’s third lockdown 
  • The number of new daily infections has fallen to the lowest in more than a month 

Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte have taken part in the traditional Lily of the Valley ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

The couple wore masks as they celebrated the May 1 event holding the flowers which are a symbol of spring.

The tradition began at the beginning of the 20th century with lily of the valley flowers sold on May 1.

Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte have taken part in the traditional Lily of the Valley ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech during the traditional Lily of the Valley ceremony at the Elysee Palace

French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech during the traditional Lily of the Valley ceremony at the Elysee Palace

French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech during the traditional Lily of the Valley ceremony at the Elysee Palace

It comes ahead of Macron’s decision to start unwinding the country’s third lockdown on Monday.

The number of people hospitalised for COVID-19 in France decreased on Friday for the fourth straight day and the average number of new daily infections fell to the lowest in more than a month. 

The overall number of hospitalisations was down by 557 to 28,930 and the number of patients in intensive care wards fell by 129 to 5,675.

The health ministry reported 24,299 new confirmed virus infections, taking the total to 5.6 million – the world’s fourth-highest.

The couple wore masks as they celebrated the May 1 event holding the flowers which are a symbol of spring

The couple wore masks as they celebrated the May 1 event holding the flowers which are a symbol of spring

The couple wore masks as they celebrated the May 1 event ahead of Macron's decision to start unwinding the country's third lockdown on Monday

The couple wore masks as they celebrated the May 1 event ahead of Macron’s decision to start unwinding the country’s third lockdown on Monday

The increase of 3.2 per cent over last Friday was the lowest week-on-week percentage increase since end July 2020.

The seven-day moving average of new cases, a closely watched indicator, is now down to just over 25,000, from a high of more than 42,000 mid-April.

France also reported 290 new coronavirus deaths, to 104,514, the eighth highest tally globally.

Elsewhere on Saturday, police scuffled with protesters in Paris on Saturday, firing tear gas as thousands turned out across France for May Day workers’ rights demonstrations.

Rungis International Market CEO Stephane Layani addresses businessmen alongside French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee palace

Rungis International Market CEO Stephane Layani addresses businessmen alongside French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee palace

A police source told AFP that far-left ‘black bloc’ protesters had repeatedly tried to block the trade union-led march in the French capital, with 34 people detained.

Some protesters smashed the windows of bank branches, set fire to dustbins and threw projectiles at police, who responded with volleys of tear gas and stingball grenades. An injured policeman had to be evacuated, an AFP journalist saw.

The CGT union said nearly 300 May day protests were planned around the country, with authorities expecting around 100,000 demonstrators to join them in total.

The crowds held placards with different demands, ranging from the end of the nighttime curfew in place as part of coronavirus restrictions, to a halt to unemployment reforms due to come into force in July.

Members of the yellow vest anti-elite movement, which rocked Emmanuel Macron’s presidency two years ago before largely fizzling out, could also be spotted at protests up and down the country.

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