French police dismantle Occupy camp

French police late on Tuesday dismantled a two-week-old makeshift camp of anti-capitalist 'Indignant' protesters in Paris' La Defense business district, an AFP reporter witnessed.

Around 10pm, police arrived and confiscated cardboard boxes, posters and canvas sheets used by the group, which numbered about 100.

“The security force intervention was aimed at clearing the area of cardboard boxes and furniture placed here by the Indignants, but not to evacuate or arrest anyone,” an official source told AFP.

Officials said there were no incidents.

But the Indignants called the action “violent”, and said in a statement authorities had taken protesters’ food and medicines.

“This police harassment does nothing but reinforce the legitimacy of this occupation by citizens determined to take up their responsibilities and show resistance in a non-violent way to the state, which employs fascist methods not compatible with a democracy.”

The group installed itself at La Defense during the G20 summit in Cannes on November 4th — part of a global movement of protest inspired by the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations against corporate greed and Washington gridlock.

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France unveils big-spending budget to tackle Covid-shock and pledges no new taxes

France launched a free-spending budget plan on Monday, saying a fresh spike in new Covid-19 cases justified its unprecedented loosening of the purse strings.

France unveils big-spending budget to tackle Covid-shock and pledges no new taxes
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire. Photo: AFP

After €460 billion of emergency spending this year to save the economy from the virus fallout, the government built its 2021 budget plan around a €100-billion “recovery plan”, first announced this month and partly funded by EU money.

The budget came after France's health services on Saturday reported 14,412 new virus cases over the previous 24 hours – only slightly lower than the record 16,000 registered on both Thursday and Friday.

READ ALSO IN NUMBERS Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths in France


The fresh spike threatens to overwhelm hospitals, health officials warned, while the government imposed fresh curbs to limit the spread of the virus, including on restaurants, bars and sports facilities.

“There is no reason to give up the idea of a recovery just because the health difficulties have re-emerged,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told a news conference.

The spending boost is to help the French economy to rebound strongly next year, by eight percent according to the budget, after crashing by an expected 10 percent this year, Le Maire said.

“We are implementing this recovery fund so it can be used up quickly and have the greatest possible impact on growth,” he said.

But the growth forecast immediately drew criticism from France's high council for public finance, a state body charged with making sure that government budgetary assumptions are realistic.

The growth target was “pro-active”, given the “great uncertainties” weighing on the economic outlook because of the coronavirus, the council said.

It also called on the government to be mindful of public debt which has ballooned since the start of the crisis.

France's annual deficit is estimated at 10.2 percent of GDP this year, and is to come in at 6.7 percent in 2021, the government said.

This compares with a permitted ceiling of three percent for eurozone countries, which the EU has however lifted temporarily as governments grapple with the crisis.

The government has promised that it will not raise taxes to pay for the recovery.