French PM Valls vows no climbdown on reforms after violent demos

A defiant French prime minister on Wednesday vowed to stand firm on a disputed set of labour reforms, despite mass protests against them that spiralled into violence. “The government will not change a text which is already the outcome of a compromise sealed several months ago with reform-minded unions,” Manuel Valls told France Inter radio. On Tuesday, several hundred masked protesters hurled projectiles at police, who made dozens of arrests. Forty people were hurt in the clashes, including 29 members of the security forces, in Paris, while three cars were burned on the city streets.

I call on the CGT not to organise this type of demonstration in Paris any more.

Manuel Valls

Valls blasted the troublemakers, who he said wanted to “kill” the police officers patrolling the demonstration and accused the hardline CGT union, which organised the marches, of an “ambiguous attitude” towards those attacking the authorities. Two further protest days are set for later this month. Police and organisers gave wildly different figures for the turnout, with unions saying 1.3 million people had turned out across France but police estimating the crowds at 125,000 or more, some 80,000 of them in Paris.