Brass & Knuckles: Different Sights at International Labour Day in Paris

Article published on May 3, 2016
Article published on May 3, 2016

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

According to the police, 16,000 protesters marched in the streets of Paris from Place de la Bastille to Nation – 70,000 according to the workers’ unions. Fittingly, the International Labour Day protest was against the new Loi Travail (labour law) passed by the government.

Early on, the protest was taken by the police and several altercations ensued. The police, equipped with riot shields, faced the protesters, many of whom hid their faces behind black bloc clothing and the occasional Guy Fawkes mask to protect themselves from tear gas.

The banners brandished by the protesters touched on a variety of subjects, some of them protesting low wages, high unemployment, while some of them were an outcry against the recent violence taken against protesters across France during the Nuit Debout protests, one of the banners saying “Get out of our lives, cops!”

The protest started at 2:45PM but did not start marching until 3:10, and ended at Nation at around 6. Some protesters have claimed the overwhelming police presence was a provocation, and a violation of the people’s right to protest.

Members of Trade Unions were present, including the Syndicat SUB, that represents construction workers. They are seen wearing hard hats at the protest as a sign of solidarity to their fellow workers.

Not all ended in violence, however, there were several sightings of marching bands, sporting brass and percussion instruments and walking alongside the protest. Among the many flags and banners, the Syrian flag was present too; while it was not directly pertinent to the protest itself, it shows the people are unhappy with the actions undertaken by their government, whether it be on the domestic or the international front, and any manifestation and assembly is a viable platform to bring forth the malcontent of the people towards its leaders, further shown by the participation of supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), to protest the air strikes conducted in Aleppo, Syria, killing fourteen staff members of a children’s hospital targeted by the strike.