Between 200,000 to 400,000 people across France demonstrated against the controversial labour law reforms proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron some of which resulted in clashes with police.
The protests, organised by leftist groups and trade unions, took place Tuesday afternoon across the country in opposition to labour reforms proposed by the French president. The protest is the first large-scale street protest organised by the Communist Party-linked General Confederation of Labour (CGT) who claimed that up to 400,000 people took to the streets, L’Express reports.
The French Interior Ministry said the number of protesters was closer to 233,000 nationwide, almost half the number of a similar protest organised by the CGT in March of last year.
Clashes broke out in Paris between far-left extremists and police in Paris as well as in the city of Nantes where police used tear gas on violent protesters who attacked them with projectiles. The police in Paris say they arrested four individuals in connection with the violence whilst Nantes authorities arrested three extremists.
— Raphaël MAILLOCHON (@Raph_journalist) September 12, 2017
Amidst the extremists, were black-clad members of the alt-left Antifa group who were largely seen as being responsible for the riots during the G20 in Hamburg earlier this year. The U.S. government has classified their activity in the United States as acts of domestic terrorism.
Germany has also cracked down on the extremist group by shutting down the organisation’s most prominent German-language website last month.
— Anais Denet (@AnaisDenet) September 12, 2017
During the clashes in Nantes, shops were damaged including a MacDonalds which had its windows smashed in by far-left extremists.
The new labour law proposals include a limit on payouts for unfairly terminated employees and would give a far greater degree of freedom to French companies on who they can hire on or fire.
The reforms will also take some power away from national trade unions and allow companies to negotiate directly with employees rather than be held to industry-wide trade union agreements.