French Unions Reject Government Call to Cancel March
French labor unions on Wednesday rejected government demands they cancel a protest march through the streets of Paris, raising the specter of a showdown with riot police in less than 48 hours.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who last week threatened to ban the rally after running battles between police and rioters on the fringes of previous protests, told parliament that he would make clear the government’s position shortly.
The Socialist government is torn between the potential political fallout from prohibiting the march and the risk of violence at a time when police are stretched securing the Euro 2016 tournament under a state of emergency.
The militant CGT union and six others behind the demonstration slated for tomorrow stood their ground after meeting police officials who said they could hold a stationary rally in a Paris square but not a march through the streets.
“The unions … categorically rejected this proposal, noting that protest is a constitutional right and that it is up to the state to ensure security at all protests in public areas,” said a statement signed by the unions involved, Reuters reported