Wednesday, May 2, 2018

French Government under Fire after May Day Chaos

May Day Chaos
France's interior minister promised Wednesday to boost security at protests after hooded youths ran amok at May Day demonstrations in Paris, torching cars and a McDonald's restaurant.


Police said 109 people were in custody after the violence, which has sparked criticism in the press that the government was unprepared for 1,200 black-clad troublemakers joining the traditional May 1 protests for workers' rights, AFP reported.

"The authority of the state, reduced to statements of 'strong condemnation', has been tarnished once again," read a column in the right-leaning Figaro newspaper.

Regional daily L'Est Republicain deplored "the sight of these 1,200 thugs dressed in black on the Austerlitz Bridge", while the L'Alsace newspaper declared: "Governing means planning ahead."

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb pledged to look again at how to police protests given the rise of far-left "black bloc" protesters who turn up with the intention of attacking police or property.

"For the next demonstrations there will be even more security forces, this time with the intention of totally separating protesters from those who have come to smash things up," Collomb told France 2 television.

But he defended the way police had handled the violence, saying little could be done to stop trouble-makers from infiltrating the crowds.

"We can only detain a certain number of people who turn up like you or I in civilian clothing and then suddenly are dressed in black bloc outfits in the middle of the crowd," he said.

"We cannot keep up, even with 21 police units mobilized against movements which all of a sudden appear on a scale we've never seen before."

President Emmanuel Macron, on a visit to Sydney, deplored the clashes in the French capital, one of several cities around the world where May Day protests turned violent.
  (Tasnim)
 2/5/18

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