Pension Reform: Violence in Lyon, a Ransacked District Town Hall and 36 Arrests

Local News
Pension reform protests in Lyon

A new demonstration against the pension reform gave rise to violence and clashes in Lyon on Friday evening. The town hall of the 4th arrondissement was ransacked.

New episode in the mobilization against the pension reform and the use of 49.3 in Lyon (Rhône) this Friday 17th March 2023 after a first demonstration which gave rise to clashes and violence Thursday evening on the Presqu’île, in particular at City Hall which was targeted.

A new call to demonstrate has been launched by members of the ultra-left by giving an appointment on the Place des Jacobins, in the city centre of Lyon in the 2nd arrondissement.

The prefecture finally reports 36 arrests at the end of this second evening of violence and looting.

Clashes in the 6th arrondissement

End of lifeThe situation was still confusing in the streets between a hundred individuals and the police. 

11:35 p.m.: The group of thugs crossed the Rhône and reached the 6th arrondissement where clashes with the police are still taking place. Garbage cans are set on fire and tear gas is thrown by the police in the direction of violent individuals.

The town hall of the 4th arrondissement ransacked

11:30 p.m.: Four arrests were made by the police this evening in Lyon, according to the prefecture

11:30 p.m.: The mayor of Lyon Grégory Doucet condemns the ransacking of the town hall of the 4th arrondissement

11 p.m.: A group of thugs managed to enter the town hall of the 4th arrondissement on the Croix Rousse plateau by breaking down the door. A fire was started and the interior was ransacked. According to the prefecture, the police intervened to put an end to the fire.

Clashes at Place Sathonay

10:14 p.m .: clashes between the police and a group of violent individuals continue on Place Sathonay, at the foot of the slopes of Croix-Rousse.

Violent clashes on the slopes

10:02 p.m .: the town hall of the 1st arrondissement has been tagged.

The town hall of Lyon ransacked with pension reform protesters
The town hall of the 1st arrondissement of Lyon has been tagged. (©Nicolas Zaugra / news Lyon)

9:50 p.m .: clashes between thugs and police go up a notch on the slopes of downtown Lyon. The police use tear gas and retreat in the face of this group of violent individuals who throw projectiles.

The police are stoned in front of a restaurant in the city centre, in which customers are having dinner

A ransacked Century 21 agency

9:44 p.m. A Century 21 agency was completely ransacked in downtown Lyon. The windows were smashed and the furniture was destroyed inside.

A ransacked real estate agency in the 1st arrondissement, Friday March 17, 2023.
A ransacked real estate agency in the 1st arrondissement, Friday March 17, 2023. (© Nicolas Zaugra / actu Lyon)

Fires rue de la Martinière

9:28 p.m. Fires broke out on rue de la Martinière: demonstrators set fire to barricades in front of bars and restaurants. The flames are intense and cause a thick cloud of smoke. Two surveillance cameras were broken. 

Big fires take place rue de la Martinière, Lyon
Big fires take place rue de la Martinière. (©Nicolas Zaugra / news Lyon)

Damage and fire in garbage cans

9:20 p.m.: several damages have been committed in the city centre. Many trash cans were set on fire, broken glass containers or banks were tagged with projectile impacts on the windows. The metro was closed at the Hôtel de Ville.

Tensions place des Terreaux

9 p.m.: it’s very tense again at Place des Terreaux. The demonstrators throw projectiles and the police send tear gas. It is strongly advised to avoid the area. The terraces are urgently tidied up. The police seem overwhelmed, too few to take over the place of Terreaux.

Place des Terreaux has been gassed several times by the police in Lyon
Place des Terreaux has been gassed several times by the police. (© Lyon news video screenshot)

Clashes in the back streets

8:50 p.m.: the demonstrators are no longer in the Place des Terreaux. The police and a group of individuals engage in clashes in the adjacent streets. The security forces send tear gas, the demonstrator’s projectiles.

The police gassed the demonstrators on Place des Terreaux. Clashes take place in the streets in Lyon
The police gassed the demonstrators on Place des Terreaux. Clashes take place in the streets. (©Nicolas Zaugra / News Lyon)

Place des Terreaux completely gassed

8:37 p.m .: New rise in tension in Terreaux. The demonstrators were gassed by the police on several occasions. Place des Terreaux is flooded with gas. The forces of order received projectile jets.

Tear gas sent to Place de la Comédie

8:27 p.m.: The police sent tear gas to disperse the demonstrators at the Place de la Comédie – Hôtel de Ville. There is a line of police stopping the protesters. The situation is sometimes tense, sometimes calm. 

8:20 p.m.: the procession arrives at Place de la Comédie

8:20 p.m. The group of demonstrators finally heads to Place de la Comédie, while the terraces of the bars are still all erected in Terreaux.

The many demonstrators take the direction of the Place des Terreaux, chanting cries against the police. At 8:13 p.m., they are at the level of the Saint-Nizier church. They go up rue Edouard-Herriot. 

The procession leaves from the Place des Jacobins

At 7:30 p.m., the demonstrators are gathered in peace. The procession took the direction of the rue de Brest at 8 p.m. There are several hundred people, according to our journalist present on the spot.

Four arrests Thursday

The violence on Thursday evening gave rise to four arrests while the unions are calling for a new demonstration next Thursday between Manufacture des Tabacs and Bellecour.

Prohibition perimeter Saturday

For fear of another demonstration on Saturday evening on the Presqu’île, the prefecture has decided on a prohibition perimeter 

“In view of the damage committed yesterday during wild gatherings in the hyper-centre of Lyon, several demonstration ban perimeters were taken for the day of Saturday 18th March”, announced the Rhône prefecture.

This perimeter concerns the sectors of Bellecour and Cordeliers but not Terreaux, Saturday 18th March from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.


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