Protesters clash with police over France's new labour laws

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Protesters clash with police over France's new labour laws
Protesters burn a Porsche in Nantes, western France. Photo: AFP

An estimated 170,000 protesters took to the streets of France on Thursday, in a new round of violent protests against the French government’s planned labour reforms.


Twenty-four policemen were injured in the protests, including three seriously in Paris, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

A total of 124 people were arrested nationwide, Cazeneuve said, with protests also taking place in Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Rennes, and Nantes.

Militant action that has marked the recent protests against the labour reform bill began early in the day when students from a Paris university blocked access to the port of Gennevilliers on the Seine, near Paris.

Around 200 students piled up tyres to block access to the port before police turned up.

Hundreds of strikers, mainly dockworkers, set up flaming roadblocks at all the main access routes around the port of Le Havre, the all-news BFMTV channel reported.

Later in the day, clashes broke out in the western city of Nantes, with police firing tear gas at protesters throwing stones, paint and smoke bombs.
Tweets from the scene showed large crowds of people, who appear to have torched a parked Porsche.
There was similar chaos in nearby Rennes, with the video below showing protesters apparently throwing fireworks at police.
In Paris, police said scuffles pitting more than 100 masked youths against security forces left one policeman injured.

Riot police were sent out in force, with recent demonstrations also ending up in running battles between police and protesters.

The government’s changes are basically aimed at making it easier for companies to hire and fire workers and make rules around working hours less rigid.

However opponents argue that workers will be left worse off and in a more precarious situation. They argue it shouldn’t be workers who pay the price for high unemployment, but company chiefs and their profit margins.

Since the first protest on March 9th the numbers turning out to pound the streets and shout their opposition have fallen, thanks in part to the government caving in on some of the more controversial aspects of the reform.

While the watered down version of the reform may have appeased the more reformist unions, it left employers groups and business leaders fuming and threatening all out revolt.

"The current bill, which is totally unacceptable, spells insecurity and social setbacks for workers and youths," a joint union statement said.




Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also