Salem Radio Network News Monday, June 5, 2023


Paris police ‘very vigilant’ for before new round of pension protests

PARIS (Reuters) -French police are on the lookout for more protesters bent on violence joining marches against planned pension reform, the chief of police in Paris said on Tuesday, hours before a new round of country-wide demonstrations and strikes.

Millions of people have been demonstrating, largely peacefully, and joining strike action since mid-January to vent their opposition to President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to make most of them work an extra two years to 64.

But public frustration has evolved into broader anti-Macron sentiment.

The protests have intensified since the government used special constitutional powers to bypass parliament on a final vote on the pensions bill almost two weeks ago, bringing scenes of chaos reminiscent of unrest by supporters of the yellow-vest movement during Macron’s first term as president.

Laurent Nunez, president of Paris’s Prefecture de Police, told France Inter radio that security agencies believed more people intent on violence could join the protests and police had to be ready.

“We are talking about individuals which often are being monitored by intelligence services … and we are very vigilant about their presence,” Nunez said.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Monday said authorities have recently noticed a trend towards more violence directed against the state and were anticipating a “very serious risk to public order” at Tuesday’s rallies.

A total of 13,000 police agents will be deployed during the protests throughout the day, more than ever before, Darmanin said.

Laurent Berger, the head of France’s largest union, the CFDT, said the violence was a distraction.

“What angers me is that this violence, which I condemn … overshadows the formidable mobilisation which has been overwhelmingly peaceful,” Berger said.

Berger said attempts to get talks going between union leaders and the government had failed and Macron had to “hit pause” on raising the retirement age and show “a gesture of appeasement” to calm things down.

Berger suggested appointing mediators to help the dialogue between the government and unions over the next few months.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel and Ingrid Melander; Editing by Benoit Van Overstraeten, Robert Birsel)


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