Watch: Anti-Macron Firefighters Violently Clash With Police in Paris

Firefighters brandish flares as they climb on the Statue of Republic Triumph at Nation square during a demonstration to protest against French government's plan to overhaul the country's retirement system in Paris, on January 28, 2020. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP) (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)
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Anti-Macron firefighters violently clashed with police in Paris, while protesting for better pay, staff increases and protection from violent attacks.

Several thousand firefighters from across France took to the streets of Paris Tuesday, calling for the right to retire at 57, an increase in their fire bonus to be equivalent to that of the police, an increase in staff and to solidify measure to protect firefighters from attacks, which have been rising over the past year.

The firefighters came dressed in their fire gear and helmets, with some even symbolically setting themselves on fire in protest.

The demonstration, which began peacefully, took a turn for the worse when approximately fifty firefighters began launching fireworks and other projectiles at the police, who responded by firing tear gas at the public servants, according to Le Parisian.

Firefighters also attempted to break through barricades set up around the ring road, leading to fighting between the police and the protestors, three of whom were arrested. Police were also filmed firing water cannons against the firefighters.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the right-wing populist party Rassemblement National (National Rally), blamed President Emanuel Macron for the “desperate images” of violence on the streets.

“Emmanuel Macron, who managed to throw our police against our #pompiers (firefighters), should reflect on the immense responsibility which is his in the deep disunity of our country”, she wrote on Twitter.

The protest on Tuesday was the second national firefighters’ demonstration in less than four months in the capital after unions mobilized last summer to demand better treatment from the Macron government.

Firefighters in France have increasingly become a target of violence in the ongoing wave of anti-government actions taken against President Macron’s pension reforms. Antifa style groups have targeted firefighters with firebombs and Molotov cocktails.

Frederic Perrin, the head of the SPASDIS-CFTC firefighters union, told the AFP: “We are the final link in the chain of emergency aid in France and we are overwhelmed by callouts.”

“We need the staffing and means to respond to this and also a guarantee that we can concentrate on our core missions, emergency response, and not serve as a supplement to absent health services”, Perrin added.

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