French police take to the streets for Paris 'anger march'

French police officers are going on strike for the first time in nearly 20 years on Wednesday, taking to the streets of Paris for an “anger march” against low morale, rising suicides and the Macron government’s controversial pension reforms.

Christian Hartmann, Reuters | Placards with the slogan "Don't touch my cop" are seen as French police officers attend the "March of Anger" to protest against poor working conditions in Paris, France, October 2, 2019.

Ahead of the first police strike in France since 2001, union leaders are hoping to mobilise 15,000 to 20,000 demonstrators in response to morale-sapping accusations of violence against Yellow Vest protesters, a wave of suicides among officers and proposed pension reforms.

“There is a deep sense of despair,” David Le Bars, secretary-general of the SCPN-Unsa police union, told AFP. “All of the unions know that the police are sick with worry.”

Police officers who have served at least 27 years benefit from a bonus pension contribution every five years. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner – who earned the nickname “France’s No. 1 cop” for his unfaltering defence of police conduct during the Yellow Vest crisis – insisted on September 17 that he would fight “until the end” for this special provision for the police.

However, “Castaner doesn’t have all the cards in his hand; he’s playing a game of poker with the president and prime minister, who control the purse strings,” Yves Lefebre, secretary-general of the Unité-SG-FO union, told AFP.

“We’re already thinking about what action we will take after October 2,” he continued.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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