francuska pariz napad.jpg
Photograph: EPA/YOAN VALAT

French police issued a temporary ban on night processions from Paris' central Republic plaza on Thursday, as people protesting against a planned labour reform held demonstrations across the country.

Unions and student demonstrators marched against the so-called El Khomri law, which was put forward by Labour Minister Myriam El Khomri and aims to make the labour market more flexible. Opponents see the law as watering down hard-earned protections for workers.

Strikes by air traffic controllers grounded 20 per cent of flights at Paris' Orly airport and caused some delays at Charles de Gaulle. At least two venues saw performances cancelled due to striking theatre workers, and some local train traffic around Paris was disrupted.

In the northern city of Rennes, masked protesters scuffled with riot police, and a business awning was set on fire. Images from the western city of Nantes showed a burnt-out sports car.

Police fired tear gas during an afternoon march in Paris where several hundred people were demonstrating.

In addition to days of large-scale demontrations and strikes - four in the past two months - organized against the El Khomri law, a branch of protesters has also began a nightly sit-in in Paris that spread to other cities.

Nuit Debout (Rise Up At Night) demonstrations have been largely peaceful, focused initially on labour proposals and eventually encompassing a broader political platform focused on social inequality.

But nearly 50 people have been detained during separate protests on three nights starting in mid-April that saw shop windows and bus stations smashed, and a police car lit on fire. According to police, nine people detained overnight between April 22 and 23 will appear before a judge in June.

Thursday's police order prohibits processions starting from the Republic plaza from 7 pm to 7 am Friday local time, as well as parking for small passenger vehicles in the area starting at 4 pm.

The legislation will go before France's parliament next week and is largely seen as an effort by President Francois Hollande to revive his country's sluggish economy that has been plagued by unemployment.

The government got a boost this week when the Labour Ministry released figures showing a significant month-to-month drop in unemployment - the first of such magnitude in more than a decade.

Latest news

Reports: 12 injured as car runs into crowd at New Orleans parade

Twelve people were injured Saturday in the US city of New Orleans when a car struck a crowd watching a parade, local media reported.

"Moonlight" big winner at independent film awards

The coming-of-age drama "Moonlight" won six prizes including best feature at the 32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards Saturday, claiming the Hollywood spotlight on the eve of the Oscars.

Trump: I won't attend White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

US President Donald Trump said Saturday that he does not plan to attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year.

US Democratic Party chooses Tom Perez to be next party chief

The US Democratic Party elected former labour secretary Tom Perez as its next party chief at a meeting in Atlanta on Saturday.

73-year-old man dies after car ramming in Germany

A 73-year-old male pedestrian died from his injuries after being run over when a car rammed into people in the south-western town of Heidelberg, police said Saturday.

Syrian government vows retribution for Homs attacks that killed 42

The Syrian government vowed retribution for synchronized attacks on Saturday in Homs City that left 42 security personnel dead and reportedly involved up to six suicide bombers.

Between 250,000 and 300,000 Croatians suffer from rare diseases

Rare Disease Day, observed on February 28, was marked in Zagreb's Cvjetni Trg Square on Saturday.

German police shoot man who rammed car into pedestrians in Heidelberg

Police in Germany shot a man who rammed a car into pedestrians in the south-western town of Heidelberg on Saturday.

Egypt's al-Sissi orders cabinet to help Christians fleeing Sinai

Egypt's president Abdel Fattah al-Sissi ordered the government on Saturday to take all necessary measures to help Christians who escaped northern Sinai after the Islamic State militia killed at least six of them over the past month.

SDP MP calls on citizens to raise their voice against restriction of women's rights

Josko Klisovic, a Social Democrat member of the Croatian parliament, on Saturday called on all Croatians to raise their voice against a policy turnaround on women's rights after Croatia took a conservative position in a discussion on human rights in the Council of the European Union.

Egypt court acquits Mubarak's aide of 22 years

An Egyptian court on Saturday acquitted one of ousted president Hosny Mubarak's closest aides, ruling he was not guilty of corruption and illicit profits.

EU ambassador to Albania Romana Vlahutin under 24-hour police protection

EU Ambassador to Albania Romana Vlahutin and her family have been given 24-hour armed police protection due to threats she has been receiving lately, the Austrian paper Der Standard said on Saturday, explaining that the threats were linked to Vlahutin's monitoring of a reform of Albania's judiciary designed to curb corruption in that country.