The 'yellow vests' and the ultraviolent 'black blocs' yesterday stole the message and the leading role of the unions during the Labor Day demonstrations in France, which resulted in more than 250 detainees and clashes between security forces and hooded groups violent. The movement that has led for almost six months the struggle of an impoverished middle class, deflated in recent weeks, took yesterday air in the traditional union party, whose apparatuses have not known how to channel the discontent that the 'yellow vests' They symbolize and have managed to force the Government of Emmanuel Macron to take measures in favor of the middle classes.
Yesterday, however, the violence of the radicals and the resounding response of the security forces once again focused the attention of the day and relegated the demands of the unions in favor of greater fiscal justice or better working conditions for the workers. Stones and tear gas began to fly an hour before the main parade organized in the capital departed from the surroundings of Montparnasse station, and then succeeded throughout the course of the demonstration, intensifying at the end.
The music of the 'Bella Ciao' and the street barbecues at the beginning gave way to the races, and hours after the procession arrived at its destination on the Place d'Italie, skirmishes between the security forces and the demonstrators continued through the streets. adjacent streets. Some 164,500 people participated in the protests throughout France – 28,000 in Paris – according to the Ministry of the Interior (twice as much, according to the CGT union).
The day had become a real test of fire for the Government and a test for the new and controversial law against riot, which prohibits, among other things, covering your face in demonstrations. Yesterday, 7,400 agents, between police and gendarmes, were deployed only in the capital in anticipation of the altercations that could be produced by the feared infiltration of between one thousand and two thousand black blockers, ultra-left radicals, in the courts, something that could check yourself throughout the day. The police made more than 15,000 records and controls since the night before, and arrested more than 250 people, including three Spaniards armed with knives, hammers, small gas cylinders, gas cans and all kinds of material to allegedly attack to the forces of order.
The confrontations forced the general secretary of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, to leave the parade and take refuge briefly in one of the side streets. Martinez, like other unions, criticized the "individuals who were not there to demonstrate," but also attacked the security forces harshly and "harassed" the huge police deployment.
The measures announced by President Macron last week in response to the crisis of the 'yellow vests' did not convince anyone yesterday. Wearing her fluorescent vest, but also with a sticker from the CGT, Professor Anne-Marie Gattier, one of the few who believed yesterday in the convergence of the traditional union struggle and that of the "vests", summed up the opinion of many: «We do not want to hear any more words. We want acts ».