Riots broke out all over France on Thursday, September 15 during peaceful marches in protest of the country’s newly reformed labor laws. Fifteen French police officers were injured, and 62 people were arrested nationwide.
There were 169 demonstrations across the country of France on Thursday. According to a statement released by the Interior Ministry of France, “Scuffles broke out in cities including Paris, Nantes, Toulouse, Rennes, Grenoble and Montpellier.” There were 13,000 protesters in Paris alone, and 78,000 nationally. According to Business Insider, two police officers were burned by makeshift firebombs thrown by protesters in Paris. In Nantes, police used tear gas and water cannons to stop the protesting.
The new labor law was put in place by President Francois Hollande with the intention to bring down France’s unemployment rate. Currently, the unemployment rate of France is at a high ten percent. Philippe Martinez, head of the CGT union, believes that the law, “Could be exploited by employers to trim overtime pay from a 25 percent markup to ten percent.”
Protests for the new labor laws in France have been going on for about six months now. The Chron website states, “The protests earlier this year failed to stop the government from abandoning the law, and it was forced through parliament without a vote because of opposition on the left and right.”
According to the Euronews website, the labor reform has increased the French work week from 35 hours a week to 45 hours a week. “It notably makes it easier to fire workers during downturns and for bosses to negotiate directly with employees on working time,” says the Concept News Central website.
CGT union member Francois Roche stated, “We will show them that, law or no law, we will always stand against them.”