One item we noted when we reported the fact that France was buried in garbage on Monday, was that CGT leader Philippe Martinez said that the strikes would continue, and the demonstration being called for the next day would be "enormous."
Martinez was correct. On Tuesday, police used dozens of rounds of teargas and rolled out the water cannons in order to disburse the massive crowds that gathered to protest labor reforms. Police said the turnout was 75,000 - 80,000 just in Paris alone according to Reuters. Predictably, the protests quickly turned violent, as gangs of masked youths threw stones and makeshift firebombs at police, ransacked store fronts, and caused other general chaos in the streets. The protests led to a reported 58 arrests, with 24 police and 17 protesters injured.
The violence was so bad that protesters even smashed windows of operating rooms at a children's hospital, leading to French PM Manuel Valls to say "enough is enough. I am calling on the CGT to hold no further demonstrations in Paris", accusing the union of having an "ambiguous" attitude toward the ultra-violent youths.
President Hollande even told ministers that the rallies would not be permitted unless the union provided better security guarantees.
The union, however, doesn't seem to be phased by this tone and will keep protesting. In addition to saying that it's up to the state to guarantee order, Martinez said "this is not the end. The struggle is far from over."
As France tries to minimize protester violence, clean up garbage lined streets, and keep transportation disruptions to a minimum for Euro 2016, the nation also had to wake up a few days ago to the news that another terrorist act had taken the lives of two policemen (a man and his wife). Things are anything but under control for President Hollande.
Here are some scenes from Tuesday's massive protests.