Reader Dan O points out:
Especially note around the 4 minute mark where one guy uses a big piece of metal to puncture the window of a cop car then another guy throws in what appears to be a burning road flare or maybe a molotov cocktail. The cop calmly gets out and is confronted by another guy who tries to beat him with a big stick. The cop calmly fends off the blows and finally somebody pulls away the guy with the stick. Imagine this in the US. There would be so many dead civilians.
By the way, that cop is not a white Frenchman. And it turns out that he was still just a novice who wasn’t fully qualified.
There’s more discussion on Canal+ here.
From the headlines, more groups seem to be joining the strikes against proposed (anti) labor laws. Would very much like reader input from France on the following:
1. How widespread is disruption and inconvenience? Do you have an intelligence about the impact of the strikes in various major cities and regions, not just in Paris?
2. Do you have a sense as to how many of the protests have become violent? The French have a proud tradition of going to the barricades, so outbreaks are probably as tactically more effective than in the US. But with so many transportation workers striking, the protestors would seem able to throw a lot of sand in the gears.
3. What is your best guess as to how this plays out?
Update 4:00 AM. Via e-mail from Alison L:
Here is the latest on the disruptions in France, courtesy of France 2 news for 26 May.
There were demonstrations and violent clashes, unrest, teargas, arrests, injuries, vandalism to businesses, street fires, and from the footage it looks like the police were being rough and grabbing and hitting people arbitrarily who were not necessarily troublemakers. Ugly stuff at Nation in Paris – footage of cops in riot gear charging the crowd, and there was an hour of chaos. Rennes, Nantes, and other cities have seen a lot of unrest as well.
The transportation disruptions are starting to bite: businesses large and small that rely on delivery by gas-powered vehicles are suffering and losing money; people are cancelling hotel reservations; restaurants in certain areas that depend on tourism are losing money; trucking firms and construction projects are stalling. People are getting frustrated with the petrol shortages, lines, and other disruptions. 3600 petrol stations, 30% in France, are out of service. Each day of transportation of merchandise disrupted = 20 million euros a day lost.
Economists agree that the impact is limited for now because France is not (yet) having a general strike, and this has not gone on very long. However, France’s international image is suffering, there is concern about losing foreign investment, and tourism is impacted. Also, France is dipping into its strategic fuel reserves.
The Prime Minister Manuel Valls in a radio interview insisted the (socialist) government would not touch Article 2 of the labor reform law they are trying to impose by fiat (authorized by Article 49.3 in French law), which is at the heart of the conflict with union workers all over France. But Valls said there could be “des améliorations” (improvements) to the law. The militant CGT union has been demanding a total withdrawal of the labor reform, not modifications. The head of the union speculated that the president, François Hollande, no longer has majority support concerning the law. Hollande himself, in Japan for a G7 meeting, evoked the prospect of rewriting the law before it goes before the National Assembly again. They are trying to calm things down, but my sense is that it is not nearly enough. The CGT and Force Ouvrière unions are not falling for it – they intend to continue the marches, strikes, blockades, and disruptions. The Euro Cup in France is 10 June to 10 July. With typical French understatement, one guy remarked, “a Euro Cup without the métro, without trains, without petrol and in the dark will be a bit complicated.”
Some links in English: