Arrests in Paris as thousands join May Day protests across France

Hooded, black-clad demonstrators clashed with police in Paris on Saturday as thousands of people joined traditional May Day protests across France to demand social and economic justice and voice their opposition to government plans to change unemployment benefits.

Police made 46 arrests in the capital, where garbage bins were set on fire and the windows of a bank branch were smashed, momentarily delaying the march.

More than 106,000 people marched throughout France, including 17,000 in Paris, according to the Interior Ministry.

Trade unionists were joined by members of the “Yellow Vest” movement, which triggered a wave of anti-government protests three years ago, and by workers from sectors hit hard by pandemic restrictions such as culture. [ . . . ]

Source: Arrests in Paris as thousands join May Day protests across France | Reuters

Commemoration begins of the bloody weeks of the Paris Commune of 1871

Paris has launched two months of events commemorating a radical experiment in people power, which continues to divide and inspire in equal measures 150 years later.

The 1871 Paris Commune, an uprising against a conservative government by working-class Parisians that was brutally crushed after 72 days, is one of the lesser-known chapters in French history.

But its memory still looms large in left-wing rebellions worldwide and in Paris with the towering Sacre-Coeur basilica in Montmartre, built by the victors on the ruins of the crushed Commune.

The revolt erupted after the Franco-Prussian war and ended in a bloodbath, with government troops massacring between 6,000 to 20,000 people during la semaine sanglante (bloody week) that ended the Parisians’ brief flirtation with self-rule.

Last week, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo inaugurated a programme of 50 events commemorating the Commune, including exhibitions, plays, conferences and debates.

But with public sympathies still divided been the “Communards” and the “Versaillais” government, trying to rally Parisians around a shared reading of what Karl Marx described as “France’s civil war” is proving difficult. Continue reading “Commemoration begins of the bloody weeks of the Paris Commune of 1871”

Paris eyes three-week Covid-19 lockdown in bid to then ‘reopen everything’

The city of Paris is considering proposing a three-week lockdown in a bid to “reopen everything” in the City of Lights afterwards, the deputy mayor said Thursday, calling the current nighttime curfew a “half-measure” and a “semi-prison” that never ends.

In an interview with French broadcaster Franceinfo, Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Grégoire said that the left-wing run city hall was considering proposing an independent local lockdown for the French capital to stem the “worrying” rise of new coronavirus infections there, with “the prospect of reopening everything” after, including its theatres, cinemas and restaurants.

Grégoire described the current anti-Covid-19 measures imposed by Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government, including the country’s 6pm-6am curfew, as “half- measures with bad results”, adding that that “we can’t be forced to live in a semi-prison for months”.

Like the rest of the country, Paris has been under a night curfew since December 15, but bars, restaurants and cultural venues have been closed even longer.

Grégoire’s comments came on the heels of Prime Minister Jean Castex’s announcement Thursday that Paris and 19 other regions in the country were placed under “heightened surveillance” and that they risk coming under weekend lockdown at the start of March unless the number of new coronavirus infections drops. The southern city of Nice and the northern area of Dunkirk have already been ordered into lockdowns on weekends. [ . . . ]

 

Continue at FRANCE24: Paris eyes three-week Covid-19 lockdown in bid to then ‘reopen everything’

The Fight Against France’s Global Security Law Is Far From Over

Why don’t French activists accept the Macron government’s rationale for a new law limiting the public’s right to share images of police brutality? Maybe because they’ve read it.

By Meerabelle Jesuthasan | THE NATION

In November 2020, the French learned that their government was about to pass a law that could punish anyone sharing images or recordings of police officers with up to a year in prison and 45,000 euros in fines.

Although the proposed law is aimed only at sharing images of the police with the intention of “harming their physical or psychological integrity,” this vague fine print did little to calm public outrage.

Last summer, as uprisings in defense of Black lives surged across the Atlantic, France had its own mass protests in support of victims of police violence, namely Adama Traoré, whose tragic death was not filmed. The French police have killed and brutalized many others, from Black and brown people in quartiers populaires to participants in the Gilets Jaunes movement. Some of these incidents were recorded in viral videos, which, many argue, is often the only mechanism that can save lives—by letting police know there will be a record of their behavior or, failing that, to provide grounds for legal retribution. Continue reading “The Fight Against France’s Global Security Law Is Far From Over”