Tuesday, Sep. 12, 2017

The Latest: Paris protesters: Labor changes favor employers

By The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the union-led protests in France against President Emmanuel Macron's changes to labor laws (all times local):

8:10 p.m.

Protesters in Paris are expressing anger and fear about President Emmanuel Macron's proposed changes to France's labor laws.

They say the move will give employers too many new powers to dismiss them and bypass unions.

Nathalie Cornu, a 50 year-old secretary, says "there will be more short-term employment contracts, more job mobility imposed on employees, and more job insecurity."

She tells The Associated Press that "layoffs will be made easier, even without causes. Employees are going to have more pressure on them at work."

Thousands of people marched Tuesday in Paris to protest the planned changes.

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7 p.m.

The Eiffel Tower had to reduce service amid a day of union-organized protests against President Emmanuel Macron's proposed changes to France's labor laws.

The monument beloved by tourists opened normally Tuesday, but press officer Alice Beunardeau says services were reduced as the day wore on due to striking employees.

The tower's elevators halted in the late afternoon. After that, viewing was limited to the tower's first floor, which visitors had to access by a stairway.

There were no second-floor visits to the tower, and it was closing early at 10:30 p.m.

Police said 24,000 people marched Tuesday in the Paris protest, while the organizer, the hardline CGT union, put the number at 60,000. Police had to use water and tear gas to stop some violent youths who joined the protest.

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5:50 p.m.

Police have used water cannon and tear gas on several hundred hooded youths who joined a Paris protest march against French President Emmanuel Macron's pro-business labor policies.

The youths who showed up near the end of Tuesday's march pelted security forces with objects, briefly halting the event held by union sympathizers, a student union and others.

While union marches are usually peaceful, troublemakers on the margins often clash with police.

The CGT union, which organized marches around France, said 60,000 people participated in the Paris protest.

Police said 24,000 people marched. A police statement said four people were detained and one person with a minor injury was taken to a hospital.

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12:00 p.m.

The Paris police department is deploying mobile units around the capital for a protest march against President Emmanuel Macron's new pro-business labor policies.

Thousands of union activists are marching Tuesday morning in the Mediterranean city of Marseille, in Le Havre on the English Channel and other cities as part of a nationwide movement.

An afternoon march is planned in Paris, where police announced extra deployments. While union marches are usually peaceful, troublemakers on the margins often clash with police. A broad movement against similar labor reforms last year saw several weeks of scattered violence.

Unions also called for strikes. CGT union representative Denis Vavassori told The Associated Press that some workers at the Eiffel Tower plan a walkout Tuesday afternoon, but it is unclear whether the monument will be forced to close or will stay open for tourists.

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9:30 a.m.

President Emmanuel Macron's presidency is facing its first big public test, as unions hold nationwide protests against changes to labor laws that they fear corrode job security.

The prominent CGT union is leading Tuesday's protests, calling for strikes across transport and other public sector businesses and planning some 180 demonstrations.

The protests are in response to last month's draft decrees that reduce the power of unions and give companies more authority to fire workers and influence workplace rules.

Some unions have refused to join the protests, preferring to negotiate with Macron's government over upcoming plans to change unemployment and retirement rules.

Tuesday's protests are the first big public display of discontent with Macron, and come as his popularity is sinking.

Macron is heading to hurricane-battered islands in the French Caribbean.

2017-09-12 18:15:41 GMT

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