by Scott Creighton
It’s a classic “hearts and minds” trick used by police departments facing large angry protests: take a cop car, set it somewhere apart from other police officers, leave it unattended and light it on fire as agent provocateurs dance around for the cameras. You got to make sure there are cameras and the press there to record the event. That is vital.
The carnage and chaos play well for the nightly news segments and the general population who were once sympathetic toward the protesters start to see them in a totally different light. They also start to give the police a little more leeway when it comes to their brutal tactics of repression against the protesters. It’s a desperation move and always a sign that police tactics are about to take a turn for the worse.
Across France, people are protesting in large numbers against the brutal austerity measures being inflicted on them by the party of the “socialist” President Hollande. These neoliberal reforms deal with labor laws and Hollande himself is suffering from the lowest popularity ratings of any French president in history.
The protester are being joined today by truckers across the country and things look to be getting out of hand for the unpopular government.
The oppressive reaction of the French police is typical of what one would expect from a neoliberal dictatorship, the kinds that France and the US support across the third world.
Protesters are defying brutal police repression of demonstrations against the labour law and the broader police state agenda of the PS. In a sinister development, trampling fundamental democratic principles including freedom of assembly and the presumption of innocence, the PS has been launching pre-emptive arrests of protesters to stop them from participating in protests. The PS used the current State of Emergency, voted in after the November 13th terrorist attacks in Paris, as a pretext for this blatant attack on democratic rights. WSWS
Here is a video of the conflict from over a month ago.
At approximately the 40 second mark of the video, you will notice in the bottom right corner, a flare has been set off by the cops to clear and area in front of them at an intersection. It emits a great deal of white smoke and appears to burn with magnesium.
Here is the video of the burning cop car.