Fresh skirmishes have erupted between French riot police and hundreds of demonstrators protesting against a government decision to bypass parliamentary approval for proposed labor reforms.
Scores of demonstrators gathered outside France’s National Assembly in Paris Tuesday, hours after the government decided to push controversial labor reforms through the lower house of the parliament without a vote.
Violence broke out when security personnel intervened, hemming in the marchers as the latter shifted direction.
Police forces fired rubber pellet grenades and used their shields to squeeze protesters out of a neighborhood.
A similar rally was also staged in the southern city of Toulouse, where police used tear gas to disperse the crowd. At least one protester was injured by police during the clashes.
The French government says the proposed labor reforms are aimed at curbing the country’s unemployment rate, which President Francois Hollande is trying to lower to below 10 percent.
Protesters and workers’ unions, however, say the government wants to make it easier and less costly for employers to lay off workers.
The government now seeks to resort to the Constitution’s Article 49,3 — using a controversial law known as the “El Khomri law” — to bypass the parliament for enforcing the labor reforms.
People also took to the streets in several areas across the northwestern city of Rennes to express their strong opposition to the government decision.
Clashes erupted between protesters and police when demonstrators sought to occupy a restaurant. At least one protester sustained injuries during the imbroglio.
Elsewhere in the city of Nantes, protesters clashed with anti-riot police during a demonstration against the government’s decision to bypass the parliament for enforcing the labor reforms. Police made some arrests, but there were no reports of injuries.
Meanwhile, people are going to take part in a street anti-labor reform protest, organized by seven labor unions and youth organizations, in Paris on Thursday.
The FIDL youth organization denounced in a statement the government’s decision, noting that the measure “refuses the democratic debate on this law.” The reforms still need to be discussed in the Senate.