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Here’s where demonstrations and closures will hit Paris on Thursday

Major nationwide strike action gets underway in France on Thursday, December 5th, along with demonstrations in Paris - here is where the big events will be happening.

Here's where demonstrations and closures will hit Paris on Thursday
Unions will lead a big demonstration through Paris

The strike has been declared as an 'unlimited' action so no-one knows how long it will last, but as the action launches on Thursday as well as huge disruption on public transport across France we will also see demonstrations, in total 254 marches or rallies have been announced across the country.

Unions are staging a big demonstration through Paris city centre where they will be joined by striking workers and also off-duty medical and police staff, who are barred from striking but who still want to protest.


There will be a heavy police presence in central Paris on Thursday Photo: AFP

Strikes in France are generally disruptive but not violent affairs, but this time police are fearing trouble from some 'yellow vests' who say they will protest alongside the strikers to offer support.

The one-year anniversary of 'yellow vests' in Paris was marred by violent clashes between police and a group of several hundred masked black-clad demonstrators who smashed up Place d'Italie.

Fearing more trouble, police have ordered shops, bars and restaurants along the demonstration route to close and advised business owners to secure their premises.

Parking is also banned in areas alongside the demonstration route.

So whether you want to go along and lend your support to the striking workers or just avoid areas of potential trouble, here is where things will be happening:

The main demonstration leaves Gare de l'Est at 2pm on Thursday and travels through the city to Nation.

READ ALSO Unlimited strikes in France in December: What you need to know

The march route. Photo: Google maps

Its route goes along  Boulevard Magenta, round the Place de la République and along Boulevard Voltaire with the Avenue de la République and Boulevard Ménilmontant used as possible routes in the case of big crowds.

The march itself will probably take a couple of hours, but police have advised shops, bars and restaurants to stay closed until 7pm.

At recent demonstrations trouble has flared at the end, once the majority of the marchers have left the casseurs (vandals or hooligans) emerge and start to cause trouble. 

READ ALSO 'Strikes are the only way to achieve progress in France' – Unions justify action to paralyse the country

This is the principle demonstration that has been organised by the unions, but there are other activities planned including another 'yellow vest' march that leave Place de Clichy in the north of the city at around 11.30am and arrives at Gare de l'Est a couple of hours later and an evening 'assembly of 'yellow vests' in Belleville from 7pm on Wednesday.

Many Paris suburbs will also see their own rallies in support of the striking workers, but these are likely to be much smaller affairs that will not lead to trouble.

While the strikes are on we have created a special strikes section of the website – click here for up to date transport information and all the latest strike news.






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French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.