Violence flared again in the depressed northern French town of Denain to Thursday (8 March) as workers whose jobs are threatened by proposed cutbacks at their steel-works defied riot police from behind street barricades.
GV steelworker demonstrators in Denain (TWO SHOTS)
GV demonstrators throwing stones with police moving in (FOUR SHOTS)
SV & GV barricades (TWO SHOTS)
GV police cordon with buses pulling out their reinforcements
GV demonstrators continue to throw stones with police looking on (THREE SHOTS)
GV & SV demonstrators burning tyres at various entrances of steelworks complex (FIVE SHOTS)
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Background: Violence flared again in the depressed northern French town of Denain to Thursday (8 March) as workers whose jobs are threatened by proposed cutbacks at their steel-works defied riot police from behind street barricades.
SYNOPSIS: Police fired tear gas bombs and percussion grenades in an attempt to disperse about two thousand steel workers protesting against planned government economies. But the situation was relatively calm compared to Wednesday's (7 March) explosion of fury by workers against plans that will wipe out about twenty-one thousand jobs throughout the French steel industry by the end of the year. Wednesday's rioting in the streets of Denain left thirty workers of Denain left thirty workers injured. Police said that, at around midnight on Wednesday at least one gunman opened fire on a squad of police, and wounded seven of them.
Early on Thursday afternoon, police yielded to union demands and pulled out their reinforcements. The demonstrators continued their protests, but police were spectators -- merely looking on from a distance.
Meanwhile, in Paris, leaders of all steel unions met Labour Minister Robert Boulin, who is trying to defuse the conflict. The government is offering early retirement and retraining schemes to minimise the effects of redundancies. But there were no signs the talks would satisfy steel workers who continued their violent demonstrations throughout the north and the industrial region of Lorraine in eastern France.