'Still no fear': Tear gas, firecrackers & stones at anti-labor reform rally in Paris (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Hundreds of protesters were seen marching through the streets of Paris, some of them setting off firecrackers. At some point, police fired tear gas and RT France correspondent Kyrill Kotikov-Convenant, who was there live-feeding the event through Periscope, got caught up in the smoke.
Later, a standoff between rows of riot police and hooded youngsters took place in central Paris, with each side taking turn to advance on the other. The hooded protesters were throwing stones at the police, who responded with more tear gas.
An RT UK crew was caught up in the violence as camerawoman Hulya Sen sustained an injury to her leg.
“She was filming and she says some kind of explosive device was thrown and it exploded near her foot and she has a bleeding leg,” RT’s Anastasia Churkina reported from Paris.
Churkina said that Hulya was all right. The explosive device was apparently thrown by a protester, she added.
The protest in the French capital started on Place de la Nation, the same spot where previous anti-labor rallies took place. A heavy police presence has been reported in the area.
“Still no fear” and “Democracy, where are you?” were written on demonstrators’ banners.
Other banners read “For life without war” and “Stop the [labor reform] project.”
Twenty-six demonstrators were detained by French police on Saturday, as 120,000 people protested labor reform across the country, the Interior Ministry said.
According to FranceTV Info, nine arrests were made in Paris, where between 18,000 and 20,000 took to the streets.
Students have been repeatedly rallying against labor law reforms recently proposed by Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri. The French authorities are desperately trying to battle high unemployment in the country, and have suggested cutting overtime pay for work beyond 35 hours.
The proposed reform states that employers would pay only 10 percent of overtime bonus, instead of the current 25 percent.
The protest, held under the hashtag #LoiTravail (Labor Law), was partially organized by a Facebook group called ‘Loi travail: non, merci’ (Labor reform: No, thanks).
About 15,000 people took to the streets of Toulouse, according to local press. In Nantes demonstrators broke windows of a local shop and set it on fire; tear gas was also deployed.
In Rennes in northwest France the protest also turned violent. At least 22 demonstrators and two police officers were injured during clashes. Police deployed tear gas against the rally.