Monday 27 March 2017

Mary Kenny: Irish too fearful of future to try French-style rioting

A protesting French student faces down riot police officers during a confrontation on the streets of Lyon last week
A protesting French student faces down riot police officers during a confrontation on the streets of Lyon last week

Compare and contrast: in France, more than three million people have taken to the streets to protest against social reforms, the most salient of which is the law to increase the pension age from 60 to 62.

Oil refineries are blockaded, students, workers, bureaucrats, teachers, nurses, civil servants, transport staff join in demonstrations across the country yelling "No to Reform!" A junior school is burned to the ground, bus shelters and shops vandalised. The riot police come out and tear gas is sprayed.

Strikes mean disruption to public transport, no newspapers, closed schools, no postal deliveries, airports are non-operational. And there are more days of disruption planned. Of the French electorate, 60pc are broadly supportive of the protest movement.

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