Urban chaos. Violent demonstrations erupted Thursday evening in Rennes and Nantes, including the firing of fireworks at the police, AFP journalists noted, a few hours after the government announced the appeal. in article 49.3 to reform pensions.

“Multiple signs were degraded in the city center and 26 fires were extinguished by the SDIS”, indicated in the evening the prefecture of Ille-et-Vilaine, specifying that “a group of 300 ultras, determined” continued “his abuses” in Rennes. Eight arrests and as many police custody were in progress, according to the same source.

Vandalism and looting

The socialist mayor of Rennes Nathalie Appéré spoke of “staggering” violence on Twitter. “Our city is the scene of staggering urban violence tonight. I activated the municipal crisis unit at the start of the evening, ”said the mayor, proof of the violence which shook the Breton capital and acts of vandalism, such as the looting of a clothing store in a video circulating on the networks. social.

“For now, our technical teams are not able to intervene on the ground until the situation is stabilized,” she added. “Our city cannot be abandoned to the violence of the thugs,” she said again, recalling having called for police reinforcements.

Around 7:00 p.m., several hundred young people gathered at Place Sainte-Anne in the historic center and started lighting fires. Security forces tried to extinguish them and used tear gas to disperse the protesters, noted an AFP journalist.

“People have been molested”

Extremely mobile, the demonstrators lit several fires, damaged street furniture, fired fireworks and attacked a hotel. “A manager of the Mama Shelter, a luxury hotel targeted by the ultras, reports 5 victims among his staff”, according to the prefecture.

“The windows of the town hall have been degraded,” said the prefecture. “People have been molested. The Town Hall has been targeted on numerous occasions, ”also said the city councilor. The prefect of Ille-et-Vilaine condemned “with the greatest firmness these intolerable acts”.

In the Breton capital, a first demonstration, at the call of the inter-union, had brought together around 600 people (prefecture figure) in front of the prefecture of Ille-et-Vilaine, and had taken place in peace.

Molotov cocktails and mortar fireworks in Nantes

In Nantes, around 3,500 people were gathered in the early evening, according to the police, and the atmosphere quickly deteriorated. Demonstrators set fire to garbage cans and numerous piles of garbage, not picked up by the garbage collectors on strike, in the city center. Throwing Molotov cocktails, mortar fire aimed at the police and an assault by demonstrators were observed by AFP journalists.

The police used tear gas for more than an hour to try to disperse the procession. More than a dozen shop windows were damaged, according to a photographer. “49.3, we don’t want it”, chanted the demonstrators, who also wrote tags like “Brûlons Matignon”, “anger is at its height”, or even “Democracy = cause always”.

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