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‘March of anger’: Thousands of cops protest in Paris over working conditions, pension reforms & suicides

Posted by RT on October 2, 2019  |   Comments Off on ‘March of anger’: Thousands of cops protest in Paris over working conditions, pension reforms & suicides

The center of Paris was paralyzed by the largest rally of police officers in years; they say they are in total despair after being abandoned by the government.

More than 20,000 police officers of different ranks – from operatives and commissioners to administrative staff – marched from Bastille to the Republic Square in the French capital on Wednesday, according to organizers.

© Reuters / Christian Hartmann

They chanted slogans and carried union flags and banners with messages such as: “National Police are angry” and “Hands off the cops” among others. Flares were also lit, much to the delight of the crowd.

Several officers also brought a cardboard replica of a coffin with them to the protests to commemorate their colleagues who reportedly took their own lives this year due to tough working conditions. There have already been some 52 suicides among French police officers in 2019, local media says. Meanwhile, the annual average is standing at 42.

© Reuters / Christian Hartmann

Police have been on high alert since November 2015 when more than 130 people were killed in terrorist attacks in Paris and the pressure on the force has been mounting since.

France hosted the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament which required unprecedented security measures. Since last year, there have also been weekly Yellow Vest protests in cities across the country which have frequently spiraled out of control.

Screenshot from the video © Ruptly

The officers claim the government still owes them for 23 million hours of overtime. They also say their job has become more dangerous, as the number of attacks against police rose by 15 percent in 2019.

A parliamentary report earlier this year raised the alarm over numerous police stations in France in poor condition and officers having to use old cars.

© Reuters / Christian Hartmann

Another issue is the planned pension reform, which the officers fear could deprive them of their traditional perks. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner vowed that the “dangerousness of their profession” will be taken into consideration.

Also on rt.com
A protester throws a projectile during clashes with police during anti-government demonstration in Nantes, France on September 14, 2019.
Tear gas, water cannons, injuries: Chaos erupts in Nantes amid Yellow Vests rally (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

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