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A huge French protest is banned - for just four hours

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A huge French protest is banned - for just four hours

  • Police impose ban on Wednesday morning
  • Outcry from unions and governing Socialists
  • Agreement reached after emergency meeting

    What has happened?

A controversial ban on a protest march through Paris has been overturned.

French unions will be allowed to hold the demonstration in the French capital on Thursday.

The head of the CGT union, Philippe Martinez, made the announcement after an emergency meeting with the government.

The backstory

The decision appears to overturn an earlier ban, announced by the police and which had been criticised from within the governing Socialist Party.

There were also concerns about the risk of violent protests.

The original ban

French police banned the march first thing on Wednesday morning.

Left-wing supporters condemned what they said was the first ban of a union-backed protest since the early 1960s.

“The Prime Minister’s decision is an epic mistake. This is the first time since 1958 that a big demonstration organised by the main unions representing the workers has been forbidden. It is completely unwarranted,” said *Christian Paul”, a Socialist Deputy.

The decision came after talks broke down between the government and the leaders of the CGT and Force Ouvriere (FO) unions.

They refused a proposal for a rally in a large square without a march through the streets of the French capital.

Why are the police concerned?

Violence has flared on the fringes of recent protests.

The French police force is already stretched by the demands of a state of emergency, in place since the Islamist militant attacks in Paris last November.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says violence at recent demonstrations has got out of hand.

The Euro 2016 championship is also taking up police resources.

The route

Marchers will:

  • Leave from the Place de la Bastille
  • Circulate around the Bassin de l’Arsenal
  • Return to the Place de la Bastille

    What they are saying

“After intense discussions with the Interior Minister (Bernard Cazeneuve), union and youth organisations have been given the right to hold a march in Paris on a route proposed by the Ministry. This is also the case for the 28 June, the route is yet to be agreed.” – CGT leader Philippe Martinez

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