In France, horrfying images of police being attacked with Molotov cocktails have emerged.
In Paris, riot police attempted to control the crowds at the city’s traditional labour union march.
Police fired tear gas at rowdy protesters on the sidelines of a May Day workers’ march in Paris but hooded youth attacked security forces.
Video showed riot police surrounding the protesters disrupting the march after isolating most of them from the rest of the crowd near the Place de la Bastille.
However, some continued to lob firebombs that exploded into flames in the street.
A policeman has been seriously burnt and two others injured in the clashes.
According to some reports five more officers were hurt in the violence.
Around 250 events are planned across the country for May Day – a traditional day of protesting – with thousands of people and trade unions demonstrating in cities including Lyon, Toulouse and Strasbourg.
The annual march to celebrate workers’ rights this year included calls to block presidential candidate Marine Le Pen from winning the presidency during a runoff election on Sunday.
Meanwhile in Italy, violent scenes erupted in the northern city of Turin, as demonstrators clashed with police during the traditional Labour Day march.
Riot officers were deployed after more than 200 people gathered in the Via Cesare Battisti in an attempt to divert the authorised march route.
Police say a number of items used in the violence, including umbrellas and sticks, were confiscated during the protest.
The streets have been filled with hooded youths as police gather to try and prevent scenes similar to those in France and Turkey.In Turkey, police were forced to use tear gas and plastic bullets to disperse protesters seeking to defy a ban and march to Istanbul’s Taksim square to celebrate May Day.
More than 200 protesters in the Gayrettepe district on the European side of Istanbul attempted to walk to the famous square in spite of the ban by city authorities.
Turkish authorities imposed a ban on any demonstration at Taksim square, with police sealing off the avenue with barricades and halting traffic.
Riot officers were deployed after more than 200 people gathered in an avenue
Reports from the state-run Anadolu news agency claim 13 people were arrested during today’s protests in Taksim, while AFP reported a further 60 people were detained in the Besiktas district.
Around 30,000 police officers were on duty in Istanbul alone, with the governor’s office urging citizens not to heed calls for protests in non-official areas.
Metro lines did not stop at Taksim square, which was a rallying ground for May Day celebrations until 1977, when at least 34 people were killed during demonstrations.
In Spain, the country’s two major unions called for marches in more than 70 cities under the slogan ‘No More Excuses’.
The UGT and CC.OO unions demanded that Spain’s conservative government roll back its labour reforms that have made it easier to fire workers, and called for an increase in wages and pensions.
He spoke at a march of several thousand people in Madrid, which he led alongside UGT leader Josep Maria Alvarez.
Thousands more marched in Barcelona, while other rallies were held in Seville, Valencia and other cities.