French labour demonstrations marred by violence

French protests against a series of government-led labour reforms have become increasingly violent with around 1,000 rioters marring the latest demonstration, Paris police chief Michel Cadot said Wednesday.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls had earlier condemned the "intolerable" riots that broke out overnight on the margins of union-led demonstrations against the reforms.

Some 20 businesses and around 10 public administration buildings were targeted by rioters, including the Necker children's hospital, where protesters cracked windows and painted graffiti.

Television images showed chunks of asphalt strewn across the street in the morning, after rioters in masks scuffled with police on the streets of Paris late Tuesday night.

The targeted hospital was where authorities had brought the 3-year-old child of two police employees killed Monday by a man claiming allegiance to the Islamic State extremist group, according to French broadcaster BFM-TV.

Valls visited the hospital in the morning, saying it was "the first time in memory that even a hospital is attacked. [...] No one can ignore that this is a hospital. Behind these windows is an operating room.

"I asked CGT not to organize these types of demonstrations in Paris," Valls added, referring to the umbrella union behind many of the strikes and protests. "And, because, as you know, we cannot pronounce a general ban, we will take our responsibility case by case."

The CGT union later dismissed responsiblity for the violence, saying that it has cooperated with local authorities and slamming the suggestion that the goverment would ban the demonstrations.

Government spokesman Stephane Le Foll also said that demonstrations could not be authoritized unless the safety of people and property could be guaranteed.

Cadot had said some 28 police and 11 demonstrators were injured during the demonstrations.

Last update: Wed, 15/06/2016 - 18:54
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