Tensions as Paris police face off against firefighters

AP – Scuffles broke out as French police fired water cannon at angry firefighters demonstrating in Paris for better working conditions.

Unions organised the Paris protest for fire service workers all over the country.

They set off noisy firecrackers in the capital’s Place de la Republique to bring attention to their cause.Participants want a raise in risk pay from 19 per cent to 25 per cent to fulfill their missions — which they said reductions in personnel have made increasingly difficult.

They said attacks against them are also on the rise. Paris police said firefighters who tried to break down or scale fencing near the Nation area of Paris were dispersed by water cannon.

Firefighters previously demonstrated last October — marked by clashes with the police. One protester in the southern city of Dijon was seriously hit in the eye and has still not recovered his vision.

Firefighters, one with a sticker reading “anger”, gather for a demonstration in Paris. PHOTO: AP