Sunday, 10 April 2016

Thousand take to the streets in Paris

Thousands Protest In France Calling For Revolution

9 April, 2016

Thousands demand general revolution in France

Thousands of protestors have taken to the streets of Paris demanding a “general revolution” amid a continued ‘state of emergency’ in France. 

A variety of protestors, ranging from parents, students, workers, artists and pensioners,  have set-up camp in around the Place de la République square for over a week – and the government are beginning to panic.

The reports:

Called Nuit debout, which loosely means “rise up at night”, the protest movement is increasingly being likened to the Occupy initiative that mobilised hundreds of thousands of people in 2011 or Spain’s Indignados.

Despite France’s long history of youth protest movements – from May 1968 to vast rallies against pension changes – Nuit debout, which has spread to cities such as Toulouse, Lyon and Nantes and even over the border to Brussels, is seen as a new phenomenon.

It began on 31 March with a night-time sit-in in Paris after the latest street demonstrations by students and unions critical of President François Hollande’s proposed changes to labour laws. But the movement and its radical nocturnal action had been dreamed up months earlier at a Paris meeting of leftwing activists.

There were about 300 or 400 of us at a public meeting in February and we were wondering how can we really scare the government?. We had an idea: at the next big street protest, we simply wouldn’t go home,” said Michel, 60, a former delivery driver.

On 31 March, at the time of the labour law protests, that’s what happened. There was torrential rain, but still everyone came back here to the square. Then at 9pm, the rain stopped and we stayed. We came back the next day and as we keep coming back every night, it has scared the government because it’s impossible to define.

There’s something here that I’ve never seen before in France – all these people converge here each night of their own accord to talk and debate ideas – from housing to the universal wages, refugees, any topic they like. No one has told them to, no unions are pushing them on – they’re coming of their own accord.”

The idea emerged among activists linked to a leftwing revue and the team behind the hit documentary film Merci Patron!, which depicts a couple taking about France’s richest man, billionaire Bernard Arnault. But the movement gained its own momentum – not just because of the labour protests or in solidarity with theFrench Goodyear tyre plant workers who kidnapped their bosses in 2014. It has expanded to address a host of different grievances, including the state of emergency and security crackdown in response to last year’s terrorist attacks.

The labour law was the final straw,” said Matthiew, 35, who was retraining to be a teacher after 10 years in the private sector, and had set up an impromptu revolutionary singing group at the square. “But it’s much bigger than that. This government, which is supposed to be socialist, has come up with a raft of things I don’t agree with, while failing to deal with the real problems like unemployment, climate change and a society heading for нdisaster.”

Many in the crowd said that after four years of Hollande’s Socialist party in power, they left felt betrayed and their anger was beginning to bubble over.

Jocelyn, 26, a former medical student acting as a press spokesman for the movement, said: “There are parallels with Occupy and Indignados. The idea is to let everyone speak out. People are really sick and tired and that feeling has been building for years. Everything Hollande once promised for the left but gave up on really gets me down. Personally, it’s the state of emergency, the new surveillance laws, the changes to the justice system and the security crackdown.”

The government and the Paris authorities are being cautious about the policing of the movement. An investigation is under way into the alleged assault by a police officer accused of hitting a student at a Paris high school last month during a demonstration against the labour overhaul.

The government is preparing possible concessions to students and youths to calm those expected to attend another such rally on Saturday.

Each night at Paris’s Place de la République, the “general assembly” begins at 6pm and the crowd discuss ideas. Hundreds of demonstrators communicate using coded hand gestures: wiggling their fingers above their heads to express agreement or crossing their wrists to disagree.

Various committees have sprung up to debate a new constitution, society, work, and how to occupy the square with more permanent wooden structures on a nightly basis. Whiteboards list the evening’s discussions and activities – from debates on economics to media training for the demonstrators. “No hatred, no arms, no violence,” was the credo described by the “action committee”.

This must be a perfect mini-society,” a member of the gardening committee told the crowd. A poetry committee has been set up to document and create the movement’s slogans. “Every movement needs its artistic and literary element,” said the poet who proposed it.

Demonstrators regularly help other protest movements, such as a bank picket over revelations in the Panama Papers or a demonstration against migrant evictions in the north of Paris.

Generation revolution”, was scrawled on the pavement. The concept behind the movement is a “convergence of struggles” with no one leader. There are no union banners or flags of specific groups decorating the protest in the square – a rarity in France.

Cécile, 22, a Paris law student at Thursday night’s general assembly, said: “I don’t agree with the state society is in today. To me, politics feels broken. This movement appeals in terms of citizen action. I come here after class and I intend to keep coming back. I hope it lasts.”

'Still no fear': Tear gas, firecrackers & stones at anti-labor reform rally in Paris

9 April, 2016

Hundreds of protesters were seen marching through the streets of Paris, some of them setting off firecrackers. At some point, police fired tear gas and RT France correspondent Kyrill Kotikov-Convenant, who was there live-feeding the event through Periscope, got caught up in the smoke.

Later, a standoff between rows of riot police and hooded youngsters took place in central Paris, with each side taking turn to advance on the other. The hooded protesters were throwing stones at the police, who responded with more tear gas.

An RT UK crew was caught up in the violence as camerawoman Hulya Sen sustained an injury to her leg.

She was filming and she says some kind of explosive device was thrown and it exploded near her foot and she has a bleeding leg,” RT’s Anastasia Churkina reported from Paris.

Churkina said that Hulya was all right. The explosive device was apparently thrown by a protester, she added.
Gros affrontements à Nation, projectiles énormes contre les CRS. Je crois que la colère gronde.

The protest in the French capital started on Place de la Nation, the same spot where previous anti-labor rallies took place. A heavy police presence has been reported in the area.

Still no fear” and “Democracy, where are you?” were written on demonstrators’ banners.

Other banners read “For life without war” and “Stop the [labor reform] project.”
Paris s'est soulevée contre la

Twenty-six demonstrators were detained by French police on Saturday, as 120,000 people protested labor reform across the country, the Interior Ministry said.

According to FranceTV Info, nine arrests were made in Paris, where between 18,000 and 20,000 took to the streets.

Students have been repeatedly rallying against labor law reforms recently proposed by Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri. The French authorities are desperately trying to battle high unemployment in the country, and have suggested cutting overtime pay for work beyond 35 hours.

The proposed reform states that employers would pay only 10 percent of overtime bonus, instead of the current 25 percent.

The protest, held under the hashtag #LoiTravail (Labor Law), was partially organized by a Facebook group called ‘Loi travail: non, merci’ (Labor reform: No, thanks).

About 15,000 people took to the streets of Toulouse, according to local press. In Nantes demonstrators broke windows of a local shop and set it on fire; tear gas was also deployed.

Nouveaux tirs de lacrymos cours Olivier de clisson

In Rennes in northwest France the protest also turned violent. At least 22 demonstrators and two police officers were injured during clashes. Police deployed tear gas against the rally.

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