A total of 457 people were arrested and 441 police officers and gendarmes injured yesterday in France in riots that took place during protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced Friday.
The minister regretted “the radicalization of a small part of the movement.” The French government is particularly concerned about the presence of very violent extreme left groups in the demonstrations that “try to destroy the republican institutions,” Darmanin said.
«The country must condemn the extreme left, the factions. They are extremely violent,” the Interior Minister said today in an interview with the CNews television network. “Everyone should denounce the violence committed against our law enforcement agencies, the sub-prefectures, the municipalities, as well as the numerous damages,” Darmanin wrote on Twitter.
One million people participated yesterday in the demonstrations that took place yesterday throughout the country against Macron and the pension reform, approved by decree without submitting it to the vote of the citizens. Unions claimed 3.5 million protesters across the country.
The demonstration in Paris, called by the unions, began calmly, but ended with strong riots. Some 1,500 “black blocs” –radical groups of the extreme left– destroyed street furniture, threw projectiles and confronted the forces of order, who responded with tear gas and police charges.
Darmanin specified that yesterday there were 903 urban furniture or garbage fires in Paris, which were put out by firefighters. Two newsstands were set on fire and an apartment, located on the ground floor, totally destroyed after radical protesters set fire to the garbage cans that were piling up in front of the building due to the strike by garbage collectors.
Paris was not the only place where scenes of violence were recorded. In Bordeaux, the entrance to the Paris City Hall was set on fire by a group of radicals. In Nantes, protesters forced their way into the Administrative Court and caused destruction. And in Lorient, unknown persons attacked the police station and the sub-prefecture.
“We will not be intimidated,” said Pierre Hurmic, the ecologist mayor of Bordeaux, after the partial fire in the town hall. “What’s the point of trying to burn down the village house? Violence is unacceptable and does not solve anything,” added environmentalist deputy Nicolas Thierry on Twitter.