After initial ban, French unions say government has approved protest march in Paris

A city employee cleans up public toilet bearing a graffiti reading "We crap on your laws", following a demonstration against labour law reforms, in Paris on June 15, 2016.
A city employee cleans up public toilet bearing a graffiti reading "We crap on your laws", following a demonstration against labour law reforms, in Paris on June 15, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - French unions said on Wednesday (June 22) that the Socialist government would allow a protest march in Paris on Thursday after negotiating an alternative route for the demonstration, which was initially banned.

"After tough talks with the interior minister, the union and student organisations obtained the right to demonstrate on a route proposed by the interior ministry," Mr Philippe Martinez of the far-left CGT union told a news conference.

That appeared to reverse an earlier ban, announced by the police department. That ban was criticised within the ruling Socialist Party and had raised the risk of violent stand-offs.

The government also gave the go-ahead for a demonstration next Tuesday, on the eve of a Senate vote on the government's hotly-contested labour reforms, Mr Martinez said.

He was speaking on behalf of seven unions and student groups that had called Thursday's demonstration.

The announcement came just hours after the Paris police said it would not be allowed, citing security concerns. The agreed route will cover 1.6km near the centre of the French capital.