May 1st Demonstrations: Firmness Announced in the Face of Risks of Overflows

General News
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and Paris police chief Didier Lallement, at a press conference on April 30, 2019 in Paris.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced the deployment of more than 7,400 police and gendarmes in Paris to fight against some “radical activists”.

More than 7,400 police and gendarmes mobilized in the capital, prohibited sectors: the government wants to provide an “extremely firm” response to the 1000 to 2000 “radical activists” expected in Paris on the sidelines of the trade union demonstrations on May 1 st.

On social networks, “yellow vests” and “black blocs” – groups traditionally bringing together anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, autonomous, black-clad and masked militants – intend to make May 1st a “yellow and black day” and Paris “the capital of the riot “.

“Radical activists”

“Black blocks do not exist. They are not individuals in themselves, it’s a movement, it’s a method, a network without a leader, “said Interior Minister Christophe Castaner at a press briefing on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.” Next , there are activists who constitute themselves in black blocks. We have very different activists, we have people who come from a culture of ultra-left, we have people who are in this logic of black blocks and we have yellow jackets that have become radicalized “, has-it- He specifies.

“1000 to 2000 radical activists, possibly reinforced with individuals from abroad, could try to sow disorder and violence. They should be joined by several thousand of what is now called ultra yellow , these ‘yellow vests’ which have gradually become radicalized.”

"Black Bloc" expected to cause violence on May 1st
“Black Bloc” expected to cause violence on May 1st

Police, motorcycles and drones

More than 7,400 law enforcement personnel will be deployed in the capital.

A total of 190 motorcycles will circulate around the events. It is “a means of transport” that should allow law enforcement to move “quickly”, “in any case, they will not be used in the management of the event,” assured the Minister of the Interior .

Drones will also be used as “means to see what happens in certain streets,” said the prefect of Paris Didier Lallement.

“Preliminary checks” and “arrests” were held as early as Tuesday morning, said Christophe Castaner, without specifying the number. He mentioned the case of a man arrested in Paris with “a bag that contained a telescopic baton, a detachable knife and gloves”.

These checks can also take place in the region, from coaches or trains to the capital.

” In Rennes, Montpellier, Toulouse or Nancy , radical elements likely to engage in violent actions will not fail to try to infiltrate trade union processions, we will follow these events with the utmost vigilance”, also put warn the Minister of the Interior.

Prohibited areas and monitored parade

In Paris, a decree prohibiting demonstrations was taken concerning the Champs-Elysees “in the broad sense”, that is to say including the Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe and the National Assembly but also the district of Sacred Heart in the eighteenth arrondissement.

Some 584 shops will also be closed on the route of the trade union event in the afternoon, planned from Montparnasse Boulevard to the Place d’Italie. Among these businesses, La Rotonde brewery fears being targeted as “macronist symbol”, the head of state having celebrated its qualification in the second round of the presidential election. “We are not afraid of the union processions but also the yellow vests and the black blocs,” says Serge Tafanel owner of the famous restaurant for 27 years.

“One of the difficulties is that we have a larger number of people” with the union parade, “so it is easier for these ultras to be drowned in the mass, to go out and get back in the crowd,” according to the Minister of the Interior.

The unions “we have expressed their determination to ensure that the demonstrations are going well,” he said. “The refusal of violence by the unions is clear, clear,” he said.

“It is clear that any other grouping outside this declared event would be a crowd”, according to the police prefect who warns that there would then be “dispersal” by the police.

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