New violent clashes in France in water protest

New violent clashes in France in water protest
# 26 March 2023 09:32 (UTC +04:00)

French security forces again clashed with protesters Saturday as campaigners sought to stop the construction of reservoirs for the agricultural industry in the southwest of the country, AFP correspondents said, APA reports.

The violent scenes in Saite-Soline in western France came after days of violent protests nationwide over President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform that prompted the cancellation of a visit by King Charles III of the UK.

A long procession set off late morning, comprising at least 6,000 people according to local authorities and around 25,000 according to the organizers.

More than 3,000 members of the security forces were deployed, with “at least 1,000” potentially violent activists, including some from Italy, present, officials said.

Around the construction site, defended by the police, violent clashes quickly broke out between the security forces and radical militants, AFP correspondents said.

Multiple projectiles and improvised explosives were thrown by protesters, with police responding with tear gas and water cannon.

“While the country is rising up to defend pensions, we will simultaneously stand up to defend water,” said the organizers gathering under the banner of “Bassines non merci” (“No to reservoirs, thank you”).

Eleven people were already detained after police seized cold weapons, including petanque balls and meat knives, as well as explosives.

The protest movement against the pension reform have turned into the biggest domestic crisis of Macron’s second mandate, with daily clashes in the streets of Paris and other cities between police and protesters.