France: Demo against labor bill gets go-ahead after ban
French unions said on Wednesday they would hold a planned march against a controversial labor bill on Thursday after a ban by Paris police was overturned.
The restriction had been made amid security concerns as the country hosts the Euro 2016 football tournament.
French security forces have been under extra pressure since the Euro 2016 kicked off on June 10 with clashes erupting between rival football fans and the police.
Up to 100,000 police and security personnel are on duty for the tournament, with France and UEFA footing the 24-million-euro ($27 million) bill as an estimated seven million fans flocked to the month-long contest.
Unions said they reached a compromise after meeting Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, after which the police ban on the demonstration was reversed. They agreed on a changed route that will run near the center of the French capital instead of marching from Bastille to Place de la Nation.
"After tough talks with the interior minister, the union and student organizations obtained the right to demonstrate on a route proposed by the interior ministry," Philippe Martinez, head of the CGT union, the country’s largest, told a news conference on Wednesday.
He was speaking on behalf of the seven labor unions and student groups which had called Thursday's demonstration.
Martinez added the government also approved a demonstration planned for next Tuesday, June 28, on the eve of a Senate vote on the contested labor reforms.
Unions have been protesting and striking since March 9. They are demanding that the left-wing government scrap a contested labor bill – dubbed the El Khomri law after Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri – claiming it paves the way for fundamental changes at the expense of workers’ rights.
A June 14 Paris march saw clashes between hundreds of masked individuals and police. At least 39 people were injured and several properties damaged, including the Necker Hospital for Sick Children.
France has been under a state of emergency and a high terrorism alert since a Daesh-blamed attack last November killed 130 people across Paris.
Last Modified: 2016-06-22 18:19:15
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