Coronavirus; Paris health workers riot streets as they demand better pay and conditions amidst coronavirus pandemic : International de Ghana
A march by French health workers calling for better pay and working conditions because of the Coronavirus crisis descended into street violence in Paris on Tuesday.
Riot police used tear gas and baton charges as they fought with protesters by Les Invalides in the centre of the city on Tuesday afternoon.
By 4pm there had been 16 arrests, and ‘disturbances were ongoing,’ said a spokesman for the Paris police prefecture.
Thousands including doctors and nurses had taken to the streets to rally for a better deal from the government.’It appears that the main march was infiltrated by radicals who wanted to take on the police,’ said one of the protesters.
‘They began throwing missiles at officers, who responded in a manner that was very heavy handed.’
A car was turned over at one point, with demonstrators hiding behind it as they goaded the police.
Hundreds of youths then made their way on to the large grass field in front of Les Invalides, where some of the worst fighting took place.
There, police snatch squads cold be seen rushing into the crowd to make arrests, as tear gas swirled everywhere. Fires were also started in waste bins.France has been plagued by street violence since the gradual removal of Coronavirus lockdown conditions started last month.
There has been widespread disorder at Black Lives Matter demonstrations and in night time disturbances involving Chechen gangs in the eastern city of Lyon.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has appealed for calm, saying that ‘all measures’ would be taken to restore order.
Health workers have treated some 73,000 people since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in March, and for a long period people all over France held a daily 8pm clap to thank them for their efforts.Now, though, they are complaining that President Emmanuel Macron’s government is not doing enough to reward them for their efforts.
It comes as President Macron was forced to deploy the army in Dijon, eastern France, to combat Chechen gangs who have unleashed anarchy on the streets.
Horrifying videos released on social media show the well-armed masked men – who also brandish pistols – in the city, 200 miles from Paris.
The hooded gang members are refugees from Chechnya – part of the Russian Federation which has been involved in two bloody independence wars over the past 26 years.
‘Unrest has been going on for the past three nights,’ a Dijon police source said on Monday. ‘Chechen gangs linked to the drug trade and other criminal activity have mobilised to take part in battles with other gangs.’Weapons including Kalashnikovs, axes and baseball bats are being carried openly on the streets, and live ammunition is being fired. People are terrified.’
The source said that the trouble was originally triggered by an assault of a 16-year-old Chechen last Wednesday which is being investigated as ‘attempted murder’.
‘The Chechens reacted violently, going into housing estates in vast numbers to see try and find who was responsible,’ the source added.
‘The situation in Dijon is now so tense that military and police reinforcements are being drafted in to the city,’ the source added.