Paris labor protests took a turn for the violent, as 26 were injured in an open clash between protestors and the riot police force yesterday. Twenty of the injured were part of the police, while six were protesting civilians. As thousands marched in the French capital to protest revisions in existing labor laws, street protests gave way to demonstrations that saw youth and labor union members throw projectiles at the police and the police force retaliate with tear gas and water cannons.
While in their official website, the CGT condemned the violence that the Paris protests resulted in, the protests come at a time when French security resources are already stretched due to an ongoing football tournament, the Euro 2016. The Paris Police Prefecture, or Préfecture de Police, tweeted of the arrest of 13 individuals who were apparently “masked.”
The numbers have since gone up, and about 58 are reported to have been arrested by the French police. The clashes, most of which took place near the Port Royal railway station in Paris, saw sloganeering protestors throw firecrackers, stones, and miscellaneous objects at the armed police. The latter used six vehicular water cannons to dispel the mostly young bands of protestors.
“No one would understand it if trains and planes – I’m thinking of the Air France pilots’ dispute – were to prevent fans travelling around easily, even if the competition itself has nothing to fear.”
The Air France pilots are supposed to go on strike in Paris, to protest a separate issue regarding pay cuts, since Tuesday, thus compounding France’s travel woes by forcing the cancellation of one-fifth of the country’s domestic and international flights.
The CGT has announced that a delegation of its protestors will meet with the Minister of Labor, Michel Sapin, in Paris on Friday, June 17 and has encouraged the youth to make their voices heard in the struggle. The Paris labour protests have shown, once again, the awakening of a movement by those who inhabit the wage-earning grassroots.
[Photo by Francois Mori/AP Images]