EUROPE ERUPTS: Riots rip through France as thousands take to streets against Macron

Thursday, November 16, 2017
By Paul Martin

THOUSANDS OF demonstrators took to the streets of Nantes, France this afternoon to protest new government reforms.

Thu, Nov 16, 2017

They marched against labour reforms, aimed at spurring growth and cutting unemployment, and the “rise of liberalism” in France.

Although the majority of marches were peaceful, protests descended into chaos as people, who covered their face with masks, launched projectiles at police officers. Some were photographed taking tarmac from the street and throwing that at police.

Officers used tear gas to quash the riots in the city centre.

One police officer was injured and six people arrested in the clashes.

Several government buildings were defaced with graffiti.

Five trade unions had called the people to march this afternoon.

France’s labour minister Muriel Penicaud told Reuters the role of French trade unions is evolving away from leading mass strikes and and towards working with employers in the workplace whether they like it or not.

She said: “Even though it is important to have strong forms of expression, many workers don’t think it’s in that form.

“They can have their say better through staff representatives.”

She spoke as the hard-left CGT union led the today’s round of anti-Macron protests – there have been four national protests since he took office in May.

Barely four months after Macron took office, Ms Penicaud rewrote France’s hefty labour code to give companies more leeway to tailor working conditions to their needs.

The labour reform is due to be ratified in parliament next week.

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