French security authorities ban major protest march Thursday

PARIS, June 22 (KUNA) — In a controversial move on Wednesday, French security authorities have issued a banning order for a union protest march planned for Thursday because of public security concerns and the strain the protest will put on police resources, a statement from the Paris Prefecture said.
It is the first time in 50 years that a main-stream, public march has been banned here. The march was being organised by several – but not all – major unions to protest a labour reform bill that is currently being put through the Senate after it was pushed through the lower house parliament without a vote in May.
The Prefecture statement said that the organisers of Thursday’s march in central Paris – led by the Communist CGT union – had been offered an alternative to a long-winding protest through the streets of the capital but they had refused the offer.
The Prefecture and the French Interior Ministry had proposed a static demonstration in one area of the city that would have allowed for better security and management of violent groups that have infiltrated earlier marches, attacking police and damaging property, and even attacking union members who were demonstrating.
Union reactions to the ban have been virulent, accusing the government of denying the democratic right to protest.
The government, however, has the right to interdict any public gathering in view of a State of Emergency in place since the massive terror attacks that killed 130 people in Paris last November 13.
The Prefecture said that none of the union proposals to march through Paris on Thursday met the criteria that it sought to guarantee public security.
“After a close examination, these alternative proposals in no way answer the necessary security needs for people and property, nor the requirements of the maximum mobilisation of police forces and mobile forces to meet the terrorist threat, which is at a high level that is making exceptional demands on these forces throughout the national territory,” the Prefecture statement noted.
There is also a massive mobilisation of security forces throughout France now because of the Euro ’16 soccer tournament which is being held in 10 different cities here and in some cases has led to clashes between fans. (End) jk.rk