Protests Intensify as Paris Bursts Into Flames
Protesters have been taking to the streets of France for weeks, angry over changes made to the country’s retirement fund….
Protesters have been taking to the streets of France for weeks, angry over changes made to the country’s retirement fund. Those protests escalated to include destruction and violence on on May 1, also known as May Day or International Labor Day.
While violence was present throughout the country, the situation became particularly dire in Paris when anarchists began causing problems with law enforcement. According to Reuters, hundreds of protesters dressed in black showed up in the capitol to express their concerns over President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to raise the retirement age to 64.
The protesters allegedly hit police with Molotov cocktails and fireworks, which caused fires to break out and creating a scene that looked like something from an apocalyptic film. One officer was severely injured when he was struck with a projectile that was on fire. The Mirror reported that French police deployed drones to film the activity while law enforcement used tear gas to break up the protests.
Paris wasn’t alone in its struggles, with similar situations breaking out in Nantes, Lyon, and other cities. A least 108 officers around the country were injured.
A statement from the unions said there’s a “deep distrust” with the government, and it can only be fixed if lawmakers prove their “willingness to finally take into account the proposals of the trade unions.”
While trade unions did call on workers to show up in droves on protest day, the interior minister blamed the violence on the radicalization of society. The unions have long been fighting Macron’s government over a wide variety of changes to the pension fund, which a majority of the French people oppose. Macron forced the bill into law without a National Assembly vote, where it likely would have failed.