French Labor Riots Turn Violent

The massive demonstrations that have taken place across France for the past several days have turned violent. At least a million people turned out today and, predictably, it turned ugly.

AP’s Jenny Barchfield reports,

Violence erupted at the end of the largest protest, in Paris, with youths pelting police with stones, fighting and using metal bars to break up chunks of pavement that they hurled at helmeted riot officers. One young woman twirled flaming batons. The sounds of blowing whistles were heard throughout the plaza. Officers carrying batons and shields charged several times, making arrests.

Photo: Youths stand behind a fire after a demonstration in Rennes, western France, Tuesday, April 4, 2006. Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through cities around France, hoping to make their biggest show of strength yet to demand the repeal of a job law that has divided the country, known as CPE, and which would make it easier for employers to fire young workers.(AP Photo / Vincent Michel)

Photo: Protestors smash shop windows during a student demonstration against the First Job Contract (CPE) in Lille, northern France, April 4, 2006. French transport workers and teachers staged new strikes on Tuesday and students across the country gathered for street protests they hope will kill off the disputed CPE, a youth hire-and-fire law. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Rafto

Photo: Riot police officers chase youths after a demonstration in a street of Rennes, western France, Tuesday, April 4, 2006. Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through cities around France, hoping to make their biggest show of strength yet to demand the repeal of a job law that has divided the country, known as CPE, and which would make it easier for employers to fire young workers.(AP Photo / Vincent Michel)

There are, thankfully, no reports of death or serious injuries but that is usually inevitable as a mob mentality grows. And that goes both ways, whether it be stupidity on the part of the protesters or overreaction on the part of the authorities charged with keeping order.

Photo: Riot police arrest a protestor following clashes between an element of violent demonstrators and police after a student demonstration against the First Job Contract (CPE) in Lille, northern France, April 4, 2006. French transport workers and teachers staged new strikes on Tuesday and students across the country gathered for street protests they hope will kill off the disputed CPE, a youth hire-and-fire law. ATTENTION EDITORS - French law requires that the faces of law enforcement officers are masked in publications within France. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Rafto

Photo: A French students runs from a riot policeman during a demonstration against the First Job Contract (CPE) in Rennes April 4, 2006. French transport workers and teachers staged new strikes on Tuesday and students across the country gathered for street protests they hope will kill off the disputed CPE, a youth hire-and-fire law. ATTENTION EDITORS: French law requires that faces of law enforcement officials are masked in publications within France. REUTERS/Daniel Joubert

Photo: Protestors throw projectiles at riot police during a student demonstration against First Job Contract (CPE) in Rouen, northern France April 4, 2006. French transport workers and teachers staged new strikes on Tuesday and students across the country gathered for street protests they hope will kill off the disputed CPE, a youth hire-and-fire law. REUTERS/Boris Maslard

Photo: Riot police clash with a student during a demonstration against the First Job Contract (CPE) in Rennes April 4, 2006. French transport workers and teachers staged new strikes on Tuesday and students across the country gathered for street protests they hope will kill off the disputed CPE, a youth hire-and-fire law. ATTENTION EDITORS: French law requires that faces of law enforcement officials are masked in publications within France. REUTERS/Daniel Joubert

The usual suspects, of course, were in attendance:

Photo: A demonstrator shouts as unionist and students demonstrate against the French government's labor laws in Paris Tuesday April 4, 2006. On her face reads: withdraw the CPE, the new job contract.(AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Photo: A student shouts slogans during a national strike day demanding the government withdraw the CPE during a demonstration in Nice, France, April 4, 2006. (Eric Gaillard/Reuters)

Photo: A woman wears a mask with the initials of the youth job contract law, 'CPE' and 'CNE', as she takes part in a nationwide protest demanding the French government scrap the First Job Contract (CPE) youth jobs law during a march in Paris April 4, 2006. French transport workers and teachers staged new strikes on Tuesday and students across the country gathered for street protests they hope will kill off the disputed CPE, a youth hire-and-fire law. The poster in the background reads 'Contract, Precariousness, Exclusion.' REUTERS/Yves Hermann

Photo: Students shout slogans as they hold a sign with a caricature of France's Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin with the message 'I'm Open to Dialogue' as they take part in a nationwide protest demanding the French government scrap the First Job Contract (CPE) youth jobs law during a march in Paris April 4, 2006. French transport workers and teachers staged new strikes on Tuesday and students across the country gathered for street protests they hope will kill off the disputed CPE, a youth hire-and-fire law. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

But, contrary to the expectations of some on the Right, at least a few Protest Babes:

Photo: A young woman dressed as Marianne, symbol of the French Republic, is pictured during a demonstration against the first job contract law, in Toulouse, southwestern France, Tuesday, April 4, 2006. Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through cities around France on Tuesday, hoping to make their biggest show of strength yet to demand the repeal of a job law that has divided the country. (AP Photo/Remy Gabalda)

Photo: Students shout slogans as they take part in a nationwide protest demanding the French government scrap the First Job Contract (CPE) youth jobs law during a march in Paris April 4, 2006. French transport workers and teachers staged new strikes on Tuesday and students across the country gathered for street protests they hope will kill off the disputed CPE, a youth hire-and-fire law. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Photo:

Photo: 
A student demonstrates against First Job Contract (CPE) in Strasbourg April 4, 2006. Hundreds of thousands of students took to the streets of France on Tuesday for a fresh wave of protests they hope will kill off a youth hire-and-fire law as transport workers and teachers staged one-day sympathy strikes. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Still, it’s hard to work up sympathy for those who are marching against the free market.

FILED UNDER: General, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DC Loser says:

    James, I would recommend you watch the French evening news (channel 56, WMHZ or whatever they call it, at 7 pm) on your cable if you have it. Their in depth coverage of the demonstrations will give you a good view of what’s really happening. The pictures are good for effect but I think the reality is that the troubles are caused by a small minority out to break things, just like the demonstrations here in the US.

  2. Herb says:

    France is getting exactly what they deserve. France wanted and has a complete Liberal Socialist State and now they get the results of their folly. I don’t have one bit of sympathy for France as they now are reaping what they have sown. Now, maybe that horses rear end that’s running things will get what he deserves.

    The only thing I hope for is that we in the US, don’t make the same mistake we did in WW 2 and step in to save their sorry asses.

  3. anjin-san says:

    Do we really need 15 photos of the riots in France to look at? I am curious, is there no violence in America you could give equal time to? No kids killed in drive-bys recently? Or is it the position of OTB that piling on France is good and kids getting killed in American ghettoes is not news?

    With the S.S. Bush taking on water rapidly, I guess I can understand why you would want to have something to try deter from that issue.

  4. anjin-san says:

    >Still, it�s hard to work up sympathy for those who are marching against the free market.

    What’s wrong with them marching? I thought we were about freedom and democracy.

    Or are we into the era of Bush freedom, where you are free to agree and suspect if you do not?

  5. Jonk says:

    Freedom is Slavery.

  6. LJD says:

    …and in Anjin’s case, ignorance is bliss.

  7. anjin-san says:

    I guess the fact that I support freedom of though equates into “ignorance” in LJD’s book. What a Bush man is he…

  8. LJD says:

    OK genius, explain how marching AGAINST free trade supports freedom and democracy?

  9. anjin-san says:

    Freedom means freedom dude, not the freedom to do only things that make sense to you. Don’t strain yourself trying to figure it out.