Demonstrations against pension reform: episodes of violence set France on fire

Published on March 24, 2023 at 12:11

Demonstrations against pension reform: episodes of violence ignite France

Demonstrations against pension reform: episodes of violence set France on fire – © Grandi N/ANDBZ/ABACAPRESS.COM

The day of Thursday March 23 was punctuated by numerous episodes of violence throughout France. In the capital, radical elements managed to thwart the vigilance of the police to commit multiple lootings in the capital. In the region, the porch of the town hall of Bordeaux was set on fire. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin is not only pointing the finger at the “black blocs”.

Episodes of violence punctuated the demonstrations against the pension reform all over France, this Thursday, March 23. Clashes with the police took place in the various “wild processions”, which mobilized against the pension reform on the evening of Thursday evening, in Paris in particular.

The clashes in the capital exploded in the middle of the afternoon, a few hours after the start of the gathering of a hundred thousand people on the Place de la Bastille, say the authorities.

In the capital, many radicals

In the streets of the capital, many radical elements from “black blocks” would have managed to interfere among the demonstrators despite the checks carried out upstream by the police. No official figure has been released, but the daily “Le Figaro” estimated that they were 1,500 in total. The thugs sowed behind them ransacking and degradation, including windows of major brands and broken bank branches, but also tags on the front of certain businesses.

Faced with these acts of violence, the CRS and mobile gendarmes responded by using tear gas and making defensive leaps. “Death to the king, death to Darmanin”, could we read on some storefronts, reports the daily.

The violence then escalated in the late afternoon when the “black bloc” reached the place of arrival of the demonstration, the Place de l’Opéra. While under construction, the Opéra Garnier was covered with large scaffolding which crystallized many concerns among the ranks of the police.

The police actually feared that the thugs would climb the scaffolding. The clashes between the “black blocks” and the police took place at the foot of the monument, with the firing of fireworks and trash cans set on fire. A booth was set on fire.

“Black bourges” according to Gérald Darmanin

On the stroke of 10 p.m., 140 fires had been recorded in the capital. About forty were being extinguished, according to Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. The ministry has identified 457 arrests throughout France, and 441 police officers and gendarmes injured. The demonstrations brought together between 1.08 million and 3.5 million protesters, according to the Ministry of the Interior and the CGT.

The Minister of the Interior did not associate these episodes of extreme violence solely with the intervention of “black blocks”, evoking for his part “black bourges”. On the antenna of CNews, he clarified his thoughts. “We all know that sometimes it’s children from good families (…) who dress up in black and who go to attack McDonald’s, Burger Kings, a jewelry store,” he said.

Bordeaux City Hall targeted

In the regions, violent actions were also carried out, as was the case in Bordeaux. City Hall was targeted. The porch of the Rohan Palace, where King Charles III was to be received, was set on fire on the sidelines of a spontaneous rally against the pension reform. “I am extremely saddened, shocked, indignant that we can attack the Town Hall, the house of all Bordeaux residents”, reacted Pierre Hurmic, on the airwaves of “France Info”.

When the individuals set fire to the door of the town hall, the city councilor had just left the premises. Quickly informed of the situation, he returned to the scene and was able to observe, distraught, this 18th century door ravaged by flames. “It was above all a reaction of indignation more than of fear. Above all, I do not want to please those who stupidly wanted to mark our town hall with their imprint of violence, ”he explained to our colleagues. When he discovered the damage on Thursday, he deplored such abuses: “It’s the house of the Bordeaux people, I don’t really see the symbol behind it. »

The shadow of far-right activists

If all eyes quickly turned to the participants in the wild demonstrations, it could be that the real culprits are in fact far-right activists according to the media “Rue 89 Bordeaux”. The editorial staff published in an article a video in which we distinctly hear someone shouting: “Whose France is it? “While other people immediately answer him:” She is ours! »

On other videos shot at the same time, individuals launch a “National Front replaces Macron! “Remarks which resemble those traditionally made within identity groups, while eight far-right activists are tried for racist violence which occurred in June 2022 in the Saint-Michel district of Bordeaux.

An incident that occurred at the worst time since the city was preparing for the arrival of the sovereign Charles III, who must go to Bordeaux on the occasion of his visit to France, from March 26 to 29. The mayor would have liked to maintain the visit, but fate decided otherwise since the Élysée has just announced the cancellation of the visit of the King of England.

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