Dozens arrested as masked youths clash with police after day of protests in Paris

Rot police arrested 27 people after running battles with dozens of hooded and masked youths in downtown Paris’s Place de la Republique square in the early hours of Friday. Trouble flared when police moved in to clear a group of about 150 youths who refused to quit the vast open square which has been occupied daily for the past month by mostly peaceful sit-in protesters. It led to running battles between police and youths who set cars on fire and hurled lumps of concrete and cobblestones ripped up from the streets.

These are largely people coming looking for a fight

Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet

The new violence followed clashes on Thursday during protests against France’s hotly contested labour laws that left 24 policemen injured, three seriously. At least 170,000 workers and students had taken to the streets nationwide to press demands for the withdrawal of the proposed labour law. In all, police reported 124 arrests during Thursday’s day of protests and demonstrations. One of the most seriously hurt officers was being treated in hospital after a skull-cracking blow from a paving block.

With this kind of deployment of security forces you know exactly what it will incite. You can create conditions for things to go wrong.

Trade unionist Olivier Besancenot blames the government for the unrest