home General News Violence on May 1st: Government Criticized and Unions Frustrated, 109 People in Custody

Violence on May 1st: Government Criticized and Unions Frustrated, 109 People in Custody

In the aftermath of the violence committed by thugs in Paris during the May Day demonstration, the government is strongly criticized.

The Paris demonstration of May 1st, overshadowed by the violence of ultra-left groups , has provoked union frustrations – with fears for the right to demonstrate – and political controversy over possible police failures.

The parade in Paris was disrupted end to end by violent clashes committed by about 1,200 radical activists “black blocks”, who promised “a day in hell” .

Although there were fewer casualties than last year, material damage was spectacular, with about 30 degraded shops, including two burned, and vehicles burned or degraded.

A total of 109 people were placed in custody, according to the entourage of the Minister of the Interior.

Condemnation of policies and unions

These degradations, condemned by Emmanuel Macron, were strongly criticized on the political side as trade union.

With one exception: Philippe Poutou (NPA) justified them. “Yes, it’s heated up. But we, what we want to say, it is that the government sowed the violence, and it harvests it “, reacted the ex-candidate to the presidential one.

A position that does not share Philippe Martinez, number one of the CGT, co-organizer of the event with Solidaires, the FSU and FO-Il-de-France.

The presence of the thugs has “hidden the object of this event, the claims,” ​​he lamented Wednesday on France Inter. “Behind that”, the risk is to “question the right to protest” “in the name of a few,” he feared, recalling that “it’s been two years that it lasts”, in reference to the excesses who had already enamelled the processions against the labor law of 2016.

Activists interviewed by AFP on Tuesday also expressed frustration that the violence “discredit” the demonstration in general, fearing also a deterrent effect.

“Breaking a McDonald’s window is not a revolutionary activity,” reacted Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who denounced a “confiscation” and “recovery” of May 1st by “the violent”.

“Those who give orders”




The spotlight soon turned to the Ministry of the Interior, and more specifically to the Paris police headquarters, with questions about overflow management and criticism of the late reaction of the police.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, called for a parliamentary commission of inquiry, notably to shed light on the “chain of command”: “The question that is asked today is why the forces of the order were slow to intervene, “he said.

The day before, Republican President Laurent Wauquiez had denounced the “bankruptcy of the sovereign state”, and Marine Le Pen spoke of “leniency” on the part of the government, or “complicity” with regard to ” these far-left militias. ”

The Paris police chief, Michel Delpuech, defended Wednesday the orders given. He explained that the police “could not intervene” to stop the violence on the sidelines of the parade “without fear of doing collateral damage”.

Tuesday, there was a trade-union procession (20,000 people according to the police) and another, 14,500 people , consisting of libertarians and ultra-leftists, including 1,200 “black blocks”.

The damage occurred “quite apart from the classic and peaceful trade union movement,” insisted the police chief of Paris. He recalled having invited the unions to change their itinerary when the first violence broke out, which they did.

“We wanted to avoid both among the demonstrators but also among the police that there are wounded or dead,” said the previous day the Minister of the Interior Gerard Collomb.

Justifications that do not hear Philippe Martinez, who invited the Minister of the Interior and the police chief of Paris to give “other explanations”.

Police officers are not to “incriminate”, he said, but “those who give orders, counter-orders, or those who do not give orders at all”.

CRS positioned to cope with the excesses on the sidelines of the May 1st 2018 event in Paris
CRS positioned to cope with the excesses on the sidelines of the May 1st 2018 event in Paris (© AFP / Archives / Alain JOCARD)

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