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29 April, 2016

Intense protests against anti-labor reform continue in France

Police officers have clashed with protesters and deployed tear gas in several French cities, according to local media. Arrests were made as thousands of people took to the streets to continue demonstrations against labor reforms.

Photos posted on Twitter showed demonstrators making their way through clouds of tear gas as they marched through the streets of several French cities, including Nantes, Lyon, Rennes, and Paris. In Rennes, police deployed tear gas on demonstrators throwing projectiles on a street leading to the square of the Parliament of Brittany.

About 9,000 demonstrators gathered on the streets of Nantes, according to police. An image posted on Twitter showed a Porsche and a scooter which had been set on fire. Windows could also be seen smashed across the city.

The mayor of Nantes, Johanna Rolland, has condemned the incidents as "unacceptable acts of small groups whose express purpose is to commit violence," French news outlet 20 Minutes reported. A photo from Quimper showed demonstrators staging a sit-in while waving flags and holding signs against the labor reforms.

Demonstrations against the labor law reforms since they were put forward by Labor Minister Myrian El Khomri. The government says the reforms – which focus on fighting unemployment by loosening protections on France's 35-hour work week and layoffs, and reducing overtime bonuses – will help curb the country's high unemployment rate. Protesters and workers' unions, however, say the government wants to make it easier and less costly for employers to lay off workers. France's unemployment rate hit a record high last month, pushing jobless numbers to 3.591 million people, according to the Labor Ministry.

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