Pam Barker | Director of TLB Europe Reloaded Project
A little bit of normalcy has returned to France. In other words, real protests against the government have resumed instead of the astro-turf, far left BLM crowds. It’s not the Yellow Vests but medical staff, although some Yellow Vests were spotted in the crowds.
Yesterday, in Paris and elsewhere in France, healthcare workers were out protesting again about the crippling cuts that have been made to the healthcare system, which were being felt long before the virus scare hit. Medics took to the streets last June, 2019 but got very short shrift from our notoriously aggressive police. Here’s a reminder:
Here’s RT from yesterday in English:
France’s healthcare workers have been marching for better pay and increased funding. As demonstrators thronged the streets of Paris, violent clashes between protesters and police broke out, with tear gas fired into the crowds.
Hailed as “heroes in white coats” by President Emmanuel Macron at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, France’s health-sector employees assembled en masse on Tuesday to demand more than just applause and platitudes. Calling for salary raises and an end to hospital-bed cuts, one powerful union taking part said that “the government’s soothing speeches, chocolate medals and promises of random and hypothetical bonuses will not suffice.”
In Paris, an estimated several thousand workers descended on the Ministry of Health. Elsewhere in the city, clashes broke out between ‘black bloc’ militants and the lines of riot police who showed up to keep order.
These more violent demonstrators hurled bottles and fireworks at the police, who responded by firing tear gas at the mob, some of whom flipped vehicles and set fires.
The protesters appeared divided between the healthcare workers chanting slogans and waving banners, and the militants hurling projectiles at the police. Police officers at more peaceful demonstrations across the country stood by and applauded the healthcare workers, rather than firing gas or brandishing batons. Members from among their own ranks were prompted to march themselves last year, to protest President Macron’s controversial pension reforms.
The procession in Lille was joined by firefighters, who also took to the streets to demand a pay increase earlier this year.
More than 220 rallies were planned nationwide, organized by a dozen unions and workers’ associations. The demonstrations come after a massive Black Lives Matter march took place in Paris on Saturday. Around 15,000 people – as well as some counter-demonstrators, who unveiled a banner denouncing ‘Anti-White Racism’ – showed up, and riot police used tear gas to disperse the crowds.
As stated, healthcare workers formed a protest outside the Ministry of Health, which off-camera had a strong security cordon outside of it (link):
Police aggressivity was in evidence. Imen Mellaz’ tweet (see below) reads:
‘This woman, it’s my mother. 50 years old, nurse, she’s worked during 3 months between 12 and 14 hours a day. She had covid. Today, she’s protesting to get her salary reviewed, that we recognize her work. She’s asthmatic. She’s wearing her nurse’s uniform. She’s 1 metre 55 cms.”
Vidooshan’s message says: “A nurse has just got violently questioned. She’s shouting, ‘I want my ventoline’ and got the weight of the police on her body.’ TWEET
RT reporter Jonathan Moadab’s tweets for Tuesday, June 16 are worth scrolling through, showing as they do clashes as much between crowds of police and protestors wearing black bloc-type outfits as medics. It’s clear that the healthcare workers have not been allowed to protest quietly by themselves, which would have made a very powerful statement. Here again, as we witnessed with some of the Yellow Vest protests, violent interference from Black Blocs, which some suspect are on the government payroll, are contributing to a general feeling of violence and mayhem, designed to go over badly with the public.
We also recommend French cop Matricule007’s Twitter account (DeltaMike59) for showing us another side. He’s all for having the violent Black Bloc’s taken to task, but gives us another view of this nurse, taken from TV news footage.
“FemmeD’1Flic” (Wife of a Cop) says: “Several internet users were outraged at the questioning of a healthcare worker. Here she is a few moments before, in the middle of some therapeutic stone-throwing” (link):
In sum, Mike judges the cops to have acquitted themselves well overall, and believes the anti-fascists to be the cause of police problems, which seems reasonable.
The most gratifying scene of the day, approvingly tweeted by Mike, was captured in this short video, showing cops laying down three helmets symbolically, while healthcare staff laid down some of their garments nearby, all to mutual applause. This is what the government doesn’t want to see too much of (link):
Indeed, another RT France report from yesterday noted how pretty much everyone blames the Black Blocs and Antifa for wrecking what should have been a peaceful demonstration, and how, curiously, these groups didn’t wreck the BLM protests last week.
Emergency physician and union leader Dr. Christian Prudhomme is also demanding 15 million from the government for healthcare immediately, which is precisely the sum the government offered to the aeronautic industry recently.
Here’s some RT video footage to close.
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