June 7, 2003

French Sophistication?

Interesting story from Glenn Reynolds' correspondent in Paris. Violence and destruction reign in the center of sophistication, diplomacy and pacifism.

The story, which isn't getting much attention outside of France, is that the trade unions' protests over the government's pension reform scheme have become outrageously violent, and France is in chaos.

The scale of the lawlessness and thuggery would generate endless anguished editorials in the English-language press if France were Iraq, and if somehow the United States could be blamed for it. The demonstrators have barricaded roads and railway tracks, ransacked and occupied administrative buildings, set fires, reversed over one another with their cars, sealed off city centers, emptied garbage onto the streets and rendered public transportation throughout the country unusable. Air traffic has been brought to a halt. Demonstrators cut off power lines at the Gare de Lyon. Tourists have been stranded everywhere.

Follow the links on the Instapundit post, or see additional first-person accounts and comment and analysis from David Carr, and Gabriel Syme from Samizdata, and from Sylvain Galineau, of ChicagoBoyz

Den Beste has an excellent look into the French mindset on labor and economics.

Incidentally, the reason for this mayhem? The government proposes to increase the number of years required for public workers to reach full retirement benefits from 37.5 to 40, the same as the requirements for French private sector workers. Well, at least they had a good reason.

UPDATE: Merde in France has pictures and commentary on French rioting.

More pics here. Ugly stuff. (Via Instapundit)

Matt Welch has an informative column in Reason Online (via Oxblog)

Posted by dan at June 7, 2003 10:55 PM