Police and protesters clash in Paris amid protest for higher wages – 10/18/2022

By Caroline Pailliez

PARIS (Reuters) – Dozens of protesters dressed in black clashed with police and smashed shop windows in Paris on Tuesday, on the sidelines of a march for wage increases.

Train traffic has been halved as several unions called a nationwide strike to capitalize on anger at the highest inflation in decades to expand a weeks-long move at oil refineries to other sectors of the economy.

“The issue of wages is the number one priority of the French people,” CGT union leader Philippe Martinez said before the peaceful march. “It’s more than urgent,” he added.

As the march became more tense, Reuters reporters saw police attack protesters, while BFM TV showed footage of hooded and black-clad people smashing shop windows. A police source said six people were arrested.

Union leaders hoped that workers would be motivated to protest the government’s decision to force some of them back to work in fuel warehouses to try to resume supplies, a decision some say jeopardized the right to strike.

But an Elabe poll for BFM TV showed that only 39% of the public supported Tuesday’s call for a national strike, while 49% opposed it, and growing numbers have opposed the strike by oil refinery workers. .

Just under 10% of high school teachers went on strike on Tuesday, with even lower numbers in primary schools, data from the Ministry of Education showed. The call to strike was most noted in vocational schools, where teachers oppose planned reforms.

The strikes are taking place as the government must pass the 2023 budget using special constitutional powers that allow it to bypass a vote in parliament, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Sunday.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar Gupta, Dominique Vidalon, Benoit van Overstraten, Myriam Rivet and Juliette Jabkhiro)

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