Chaos in Paris: Riots, burning cars and clouds of tear gas
French CGT trade union said that more than 350,000 people flooded the streets of Paris today to protest the announced government pension reforms. Paris police though put the French capital city numbers at 76,000, and said that about 615,000 took part in protests nationwide.
In Paris, the demonstration promptly became heated, and the protests have quickly escalated into clashes with protesters pelting law enforcement officers with rocks and bottles, while police responded with tear gas and baton charges.
Footage from the scene shows crowds engulfed in thick plumes of tear gas, while riot police repeatedly charge groups of demonstrators with batons drawn.
At least 27 people were arrested in Paris and one law enforcement officer was injured by rioters, Paris police sais.
For almost two weeks, France has been enduring mass protests and strikes against planned pension system changes. According to French trade unions, the proposed legislation is a rip-off, and simply strips workers of their hard-earned benefits.
Despite the protests, the French government said last week it would still proceed with the controversial reforms. The government’s comments prompted an angry reaction from the unions, who said the government had crossed a “red line” with its persistence in moving ahead with the reform plan.
The anti-pension-reform marches were also marred by scuffles at other locations across France.