At least 24 people were arrested on Tuesday after black bloc Antifa militants clashed with police, attacking officers in Paris on the fringes of a demonstration for healthcare workers.
The demonstrations were attended by around 18,000 people in Paris, according to police. At least 220 more protests were planned across the country. While many of the protesters were healthcare professionals, others held Blacks Lives Matter signs stating: “I Can’t Breathe.”
On the edges of the protest, a few hundred Antifa black bloc militants used the demonstration as an excuse to attack police. Intense clashes took place at the Esplanade des Invalides, a large grassy area in front of the Les Invalides, where the French army museum and the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte are located.
According to a report from newspaper Le Parisien, the Antifa extremists overturned a car and attacked a bus during their rioting. Police were forced to respond by deploying tear gas.
Video footage has also emerged on social media showing Antifa members attacking police and raining down a large number of projectiles upon them.
France 🇷 is watching in complete disbelief as violence spreads daily throughout the country.
Today in Paris #Antifas distroyed the #Invalides area in ultra violent riots against the police.
Like a falling monarch #Macron presides over the «lebanonization» of our country. pic.twitter.com/dSEFw5dPgh
— Jerome Riviere (@jerome_riviere) June 16, 2020
“France is watching in complete disbelief as violence spreads daily throughout the country. Today in Paris, Antifas destroyed the Invalides area in ultra-violent riots against the police,” National Rally MEP Jerome Riviere said.
— Yazid Bouziar (@ybouziar) June 16, 2020
The healthcare workers and union members taking part in the demonstration expressed criticism over the behaviour of Antifa, with a nurse named Hélène saying: “We are here for our salaries, for the safeguarding of public hospitals, and we end up with some demonstrators insulting police.”
Patrick Pelloux, president of the Association of Emergency Physicians of France, said he was disgusted by the Antifa rioting, saying: “We were robbed of this demonstration. It’s disgusting.”
Antifa attacks on police have been a common sight at many protests in France, including the annual May Day protests which were not held this year due to the Wuhan Coronavirus lockdown.
In recent months, Antifa militants have hatched several plots to harm police, including one that saw two members arrested after acquiring firearms to kill officers.