EUROPE ERUPTS: Riots hit France as thousands take to streets against Macron

VIOLENCE broke out as thousands of angry demonstrators took to the streets of Nantes, France, to protest at President Emmanuel Macron’s new reforms.

Protesters marched against labour reforms, aimed at spurring growth and cutting unemployment, and also focused anger on the “rise of liberalism” in France.Critics say the plans – the brainchild of new president Emmanuel Macron – will mean it is easier to sack employees.

Peaceful marches yesterday soon descended into chaos as many, covering their face with masks, launched projectiles at police officers.

Some were photographed pulling tarmac from the street and throwing it at police. Officers used tear gas in an attempt to quash the riots in the city centre.

Thousands took to the streets in Nantes

Thousands took to the streets in Nantes

One police officer was injured and six people arrested in the clashes, which saw several government buildings were defaced with graffiti.

The chaos came just a day after riots in Brussels on Wednesday night, with projectiles thrown at police and cars vandalised.

Local police called for the Federal police to step in after violence escalated rapidly and young people attacked officers with rocks and knives.

News site RTL said: “Crowd movement in the Place de la Monnaie in Brussels, traffic had to stop because people were running through, at least 200 to 300 people seemed to want to run away from each other. Police sirens have been heard continuously since “.

In France, five trade unions had called the people to march across the country yesterday afternoon.France’s labour minister Muriel Penicaud said the role of French trade unions is evolving away from leading mass strikes and and towards working with employers in the workplace whether they like it or not.

She said: “Even though it is important to have strong forms of expression, many workers don’t think it’s in that form.

“They can have their say better through staff representatives.”

Police hit back with tear gas

Police hit back with tear gas

Police in riot gear hit back with tear gas

Police in riot gear hit back with tear gas
She spoke as the hard-left CGT union led the today’s round of anti-Macron protests – there have been four national protests since he took office in May.Barely four months after Mr Macron took office, Ms Penicaud rewrote France’s hefty labour code to give companies more leeway to tailor working conditions to their needs.

The labour reform is due to be ratified in parliament next week.

Mr Macron wants to better focus the €30billion spent annually on training people who need it the most, while also extending unemployment insurance to entrepreneurs in the hope more people will be encouraged to start their own company.

The jobless rate in France rose to 9.7 per cent in the third quarter from 9.5 percent in the previous three months, data from the INSEE statistics agency showed on Thursday.

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