Firefighters and baton-wielding officers clashed in astonishing scenes in Paris during a pension reform demonstration in the protest-stricken French capital.
A video has surfaced showing the two factions fighting amid the protest, causing international shock.
According to The Daily Mail, the baton-wielding CRS (Republican Security Companies) were involved in clashes with firefighters protesting for better conditions and improved pension schemes.
An eyewitness reported, “The firefighters were very militant, and at one stage tried to push down police barriers.”
“The police responded with tear gas, and then went in with their batons. The fighting got very ugly.”
In France things have descended to the point where firemen are fighting with the police.
What happens if you call the emergency number.
"Uhh… sorry, all of our emergency services are otherwise indisposed." pic.twitter.com/jYpGq7G05e
— Orwell & Goode (@OrwellNGoode) January 28, 2020
The bitter atmosphere peaked around 4pm in the Avenue de la Republique, between Republique and Nation squares.
Scuffles broke out when firefighters attempted to expand their marching route by tearing down barriers and other obstacles impeding their path.
Others were dispersed by water cannons when they attempted to tear down the barriers.
Some protesters even set fire to their firefighting uniforms while wearing them.
Firefighters, who claim that attacks against them have increased, were seeking a rise in risk pay from 19% to 25% to carry out missions in light of being short-staffed.
A Paris prefecture spokesperson said: “It was unacceptable blocking of the ring road by certain professional firefighters who do not respect the declared route [of their protest march].”
Some firefighters even wore ‘Joker‘ face paint–referring to the Blockbuster sensation whose final scene was a riot inspired by the actions of the eponymous protagonist.
The Joker has become a symbol of international protest, making appearances in Hong Kong and Lebanon among other countries.
France has also been rocked by the Yellow Vest protests–which have reportedly claimed several lives since its inception, over a year ago. Several protesters and activists have been severely injured by the clashes with riot police, with some losing limbs or eyes in an attempt to mitigate the violence by security forces.