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LIFE IN PARIS

Police in Paris fear more violence at ‘yellow vest’ marches on Saturday

Police are bracing themselves for the possibility of more violence on Saturday from rioters attending 'yellow vest' protests.

Police in Paris fear more violence at 'yellow vest' marches on Saturday
Police have concerns about possible violence on Saturday. Photo: AFP

The 'yellow vest' protest movement – which has been attracting small numbers at recent demonstrations, declared a 'day of anger' and Thursday and matched alongside the huge trade-union organised strike demonstrations in Paris and other cities.

But on Saturday they will return to their usual weekly day of protest and police in Paris fear further violence.

On Thursday several hundred masked, black-clad rioters belonging to the extreme-left “Black Bloc” group infiltrated the protest, smashing windows and setting fires in the Place de la République, the half way point of the unions march.

And there are fears they could be out again on Saturday in the capital.

The main 'yellow vest' march is on a long route that runs from Metro Bercy, near the French finance ministry,  through Denfert Rocheraut to the Porte de Versailles on the southern edge of the city. There is another demonstration that calls on protesters to meet at Montparnasse at noon.

 

French newspaper Le Parisien quotes an unnamed government source saying that there are security concerns.

A security expert told the newspaper: “It's going to be a tense moment, with a risk of violence. On encrypted networks and internet loops, there are already calls: see you on the 7th!”

On the one-year anniversary of the 'yellow vest' movement in Paris a group of about 200 'Black Bloc' smashed up the Place d'Italie.

Usually when there are fears of violence on demos Metro lines are suspended, but this weekend very few Paris public transport lines will be running because of ongoing strike action.

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TRAVEL

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed

Striking airport workers have blocked part Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, with some flights already delayed by at least one hour.

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed
Striking airport workers outside Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt | AFP

Last month, trade unions representing workers at the Aéroports de Paris (ADP) – the city’s Charles-de-Gaulle-Roissy and Orly airports – called for a strike between July 1st and July 5th in an ongoing dispute between French airport workers and bosses over contract renegotiations.

A second wave of protests are expected next week, after a strike notice was filed for July 9th.

Tensions mounted on Friday morning as some 400 protesters staged a raucous demonstration at CDG’s terminal 2E, which mostly deals with flights outside the Schengen zone, as police officers looked on.

At Orly airport, meanwhile, some 250 people demonstrated “outside”, while a small group was inside.

The dispute is over a long-term plan by ADP to bring in new work contracts for employees at the airports, which unions say will lower pay, job losses and a reduction in rights and bonuses for employees.

The strike is being jointly called by the CGT, CFE-CGE, Unsa, CFDT and FO unions, who said in a joint press release that the proposals will “definitively remove more than a month’s salary from all employees and force them to accept geographical mobility that will generate additional commuting time”.

Unions say that staff face dismissal if they do not sign the new contracts.

ADP said on Wednesday that it expected ‘slight delays for some flights but no cancellations’ to services – but it urged travellers to follow its social media operations for real-time updates.

On Thursday, the first day of action, 30 percent of flights were delayed between 15 minutes and half-an-hour.

ADP’s CEO Augustin de Romanet had said on Tuesday that ‘everything would be done to ensure no flight is cancelled’. 

ADP reported a loss of €1.17 billion in 2020. 

Stressing that discussions are continuing over the proposed new contracts, the CEO called for “an effort of solidarity, with a red line: no forced layoffs.”

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