FRANCE - POLITICS

Twelve arrested after clashes at "Up All Night" protest

A file photo of the "Up All Night" movement in Paris's Place de la République
A file photo of the "Up All Night" movement in Paris's Place de la République Reuters/Philippe Wojazer
3 min

Twelve people were arrested overnight Friday after scuffles between police and anti-government "Up All Night" demonstrators in Paris. The latest round of flare-ups occurred as the protest movement crossed the Atlantic to Montreal.

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In a statement, police in Paris said Friday's arrests came after police fired teargas to disperse a group of around 100 people who had tried to break through police lines around the city's giant Place de la Republique square shortly after midnight.

According to the same source, a police car was torched during the clashes. The 12 people later arrested were accused of participating in an illegal gathering and throwing projectiles. No injuries were reported.

Over the past few weeks, there have been several such flare-ups on the sidelines of the "Nuit Debout" ("Up All Night") gatherings. Nearly 50 people have been detained around Place de la Republique since the movement started on 31 March. At its outset, people across France - largely youths - protested against the Socialist-led government's proposed labour reforms, but the movement has since grown to encompass a range of grievances, from the plight of migrants to tax evasion.

Police warned of the "renewed, and worsening acts of violence" after the sit-ins, which have been likened to the 2011 Occupy camp on Wall Street and the anti-austerity Indignados movement in Spain.

In recent days small groups of hooded youths - known as "casseurs" ("breakers", literally-translated) - have moved into the Place de la Republique, apparently determined to clash with police. The "Nuit Debout" movement -- the translation of the name also has a sense of rising up against power -- officially condemns such violence.

Montreal tries "Up All Night"

About 200 demonstrators gathered late Friday in Montreal, Canada to take part in the "Up All Night" protests sweeping France.

According to one Montreal student, the goal of the event was "to create spaces for people who were not involved in politics. It's a movement of citizens."

Quebec lawmakers Manon Masse and Amir Khadir, with the leftist Quebec solidaire, were present to hear the concerns and demands of protestors outside the French consulate in Montreal.

Those who took part in the Friday night protests in Montreal voiced concerns about environmental issues such as an oil pipeline, about feminism and about indigenous people's rights. In Canada, the communities are called First Nations.

"I'm here to look for an opportunity to raise awareness I'm here to look for an opportunity to raise awareness about our life as First Nations," said demonstrator Terry Weymouth.

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