The Olympics

The Olympics


News, information and stories about the Olympic Games.

Wednesday, 9 March 2005

Street Riots in Paris

The chances of Paris hosting the 2012 Olympics suffered a sever blow yesterday, as street riots erupted in the French capital.

Scuffles and tear gas spread throughout the city centre, as inspectors from the International Olympic Committee arrived.

In scenes reminiscent of the 1960's, tens of thousands of students clashed with the police and smashed shop windows.

The punch up also marred a march by an estimated 40,000 secondary school pupils through central Paris, who were trying to protest against the government's education reforms.

The Olympic officials avoided the violence and were quickly shuttled to the Grand Hotel Intercontinental, where they spent the night ahead of their four-day inspection.

Bertrand Delanoƫ, the city's mayor, said:

"Social democracy cannot be put on hold for seven years just because of the 2012 Olympics..We are a democratic country, where debate is freely expressed."

The student protest is the start of a week of nationwide industrial action, set to culminate in the total shutdown of public transport tomorrow, the day the inspectors will be touring the city's venues and infrastructure.

Despite the brave words of the mayor, it is likely that the protests will kill Paris's bid.

Tomorrow hundreds of thousands of public sector workers will vent their anger on issues ranging from the reform of the 35 hour working week, to employment policies and wages.

How can the IOC be confident that there will not be similar disruptions in 2012?

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