Violence hits France, 149 policemen, dozens of protesters injured on ninth day of protests

In the most serious violence yet of the three-month revolt against President Emmanuel Macron’s hugely controversial pension reforms, protestors clashed with French security forces. On Thursday, violent black-clad anarchists clashed with the Police. In the ensuing clashes, riot police drove back the groups of “Black Bloc” anarchists with tear guns and stun grenades. As per Reuters, the ninth day of the nationwide protests was mostly peaceful except for skirmishes with anarchists who smashed shop windows, demolished street furniture and even ransacked a McDonald’s restaurant. 

Watch | Protests rock France over raising of retirement age

As per Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, 149 police officers and dozens of protestors were injured in the Thursday clashes. In addition, 172 people were arrested across the country, 72 of them in Paris.

Darmanin alleged that “there are thugs, often from the far-left, who want to bring down the state and kill police officers.”

Reportedly lighting fires throughout the city centre and engaging in a sort of cat-and-mouse game with the security forces, the rioting groups continued to clash with police in Paris late into the night. As per Darmanin, 140 fires were set alight in Paris.

In several other cities, including Nantes, and Lorient in the west, and Lille in the north, to subdue protestors, police had to fire tear gas. In Rennes, water cannons were put into use. Additionally, as per AFP, in the southwestern city of Bordeaux, the porch of the city hall was briefly set on fire.

As per the French interior ministry, around 1.089 million protesters took part in demonstrations across France. In Paris, the turnout stood at 119,000, which as per AFP is the highest for the capital since the movement started in January.

(With inputs from agencies)

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