Clashes erupt in Paris after gay marriage legalised

Published on Apr 24, 2013
France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate that exposed deep conservatism in the nation’s heartland and triggered huge demonstrations that tapped into intense discontent with the Socialist government. Within hours, fiery clashes broke out between protesters and riot police.

Legions of officers stayed late into the night, and a protest against the measure turned violent near the Invalides complex of museums and monuments. Protesters threw glass bottles, cans and metal bars at police, who responded with tear gas.

It was an issue that galvanized the country’s faltering right, which had been decimated by infighting and their election loss to President Francois Hollande. France is the 14th country to legalize gay marriage nationwide – and the most populous.

The measure passed easily in the Socialist-majority Assembly, 331-225, just after the president of the legislative body expelled a disruptive protester in pink, the color adopted by French opponents of gay marriage.

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Athens still in fire

Greek police fired teargas to disperse anti-austerity protesters hurling stones and petrol bombs on Thursday (Oct 18) on the day of a general strike that brought much of the near-bankrupt country to a standstill.

It was the second time in three weeks that Greek workers had walked off the job, with Thursday’s strike aimed at showing EU leaders meeting in Brussels that new wage and pension cuts will only worsen their plight after five years of recession.

More than 30,000 protesters gathered in central Athens as most business and public sector activity ground to a halt at the start of the 24-hour strike called by the country’s two biggest labour unions, ADEDY and GSEE.

Tensions mounted when protesters began throwing pieces of marble, bottles and petrol bombs at police guarding parliament, prompting riot police to fire several rounds of teargas to disperse them. Police said 52 people were detained. A 65-year old protester died of a heart attack, hospital sources told Reuters. Another three people were injured.

Greece is stuck in its worst downturn since World War Two and must make at least 11.5 billion euros of cuts to satisfy the “troika” of the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF, and secure the next tranche of a 130-billion-euro bailout.

European Union leaders will try to bridge their differences over plans for a banking union at a two-day summit which starts on Thursday. No substantial decisions are expected, reviving concerns about complacency in tackling the debt crisis which exploded three years ago in Greece.

The strike emptied streets and offices in Athens. Ships stayed in port, Athens public transport was disrupted and hospitals were working with emergency staff, while public offices, ministries, bakeries and other shops were shut. Newspaper kiosk owners, lawyers, taxi drivers and air traffic controllers were among those protesting over the cuts, which include further drastic reductions in welfare and health spending.

Opinion polls show rising anger with the terms of the bailout keeping the economy afloat, and Greeks becoming increasingly pessimistic about their country’s future. But with Greece due to run out of money next month, Athens has little choice but to push through the austerity package being discussed with lenders.

Greece and inspectors from the troika say they have agreed on most issues. Athens is expected to secure aid needed to avoid bankruptcy given EU determination to avoid fresh market turmoil threatening bigger economies such as Spain and Italy.

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Kuwait Protests Police Battle Opposition Electoral conflict

22nd October – About 100 protesters and 11 police officers have been injured as Kuwaiti police used tear gas and rubber bullets during clashes with demonstrators.

Tens of thousands of people had gathered across the capital, Kuwait City, to march on the Seif Palace, which houses offices for the emir, crown prince and prime minister, as part of a protest against changes to the electoral law, which the opposition described as a “coup against the constitution”.

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Egypt riots as Christians clash with police

Egypt’s military rulers imposed an overnight curfew on Cairo’s Tahrir Square and other parts of the capital, which is due to be lifted around now. It follows a violent eruption between Coptic Christians and security forces that have left at least 24 people dead. What began as a peaceful rally calling for justice over attacks on churches and radicalism, quickly turned into the most-violent episode since February’s revolution. Military vehicles are clearly seen charging through crowds and ploughing into people, while army infantry fired rubber bullets and tear gas. Witnesses claim the escalation was sparked by unconnected trouble-makers, but state-owned media blames Christian protesters for instigating the violence.


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