A screen shot of a Ruptly video on YouTube of the violent demonstrations on Tuesday.
16 Oct 2019

5000 French firefighters marched the streets of Paris protesting for better working conditions

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Firefighters have taken to the streets of Paris to demand better pay, pension guarantees and improved working conditions, reports the BBC and other world media.

At least 5,000 firefighters from across France gathered on Tuesday in the capital, holding banners declaring that they were "angry firefighters".

As the demonstrations turned more and more tense, police fired tear gas and water cannons to calm down and disperse the protesters.

"There is real anger and the problem is that we are not listened to," said Eric Brezault, a 46-year-old firefighter from southern France to Reuters news agency. "That's why people are getting more angry and it's starting to get violent."

 

The conflict has been brewing for months - now starting to turn violent

According to an article in the French The Local, the protests have been going on for some months now, although this is the first time it has turned violent,

Back in the month of June,  seven unions, representing 85 percent of the professional firefighters in France, filed a notice with France's Interior Minister Christophe Castaner giving notice of a strike action.

The unions claims there is a "lack of social dialogue" and "lack of response" during the meetings which have been conducted since March 14th with Castaner and professional associations, as well France's Association of Mayors (AMF).

 

The occupational risks of firefighters not acknowledged in France

The unions are demanding that the status firefighters is upgraded to the same level as other risky occupations, such as the police who receive a "risk bonus".

Unions are also demanding that more firefighters are recruited.