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French Banks Are So Afraid of Demonstrators That They're Boarding Themselves Up

France has been taken over by violent protests over a new Labour bill that is widely perceived as a means of giving more power to employers.

by Martin Bertrand
18 May 2016, 10:39am

This article originally appeared on VICE France

In recent months, France has been taken over by violent protests over a new labour bill that will loosen employment laws, and is widely perceived as a means of giving more power to employers. The movement has been particularly strong in the capital of Brittany, Rennes – with demonstrators setting cars on fire and attacking banks and government buildings on occasion.

I shot this photo series over the last three weeks around Charles-de-Gaulle square, which is located in the centre of Rennes. I feel that they reveal a very specific attitude held by the banks, who barricade themselves to prevent vandalism by the angry mobs. The truth is that clashes with police have been so tense that they haven't allowed for much damage – nothing that extends beyond a bit of paint on branches' facades. So it makes me wonder what it is the banks are hiding from.

I have been present at every demonstration of the past few months, and I often speak with protesters: "The media are shouting about a bunch of broken windows but they forget to worry about the lives that have been destroyed by banks," said one of them the other day. I feel that sums up the situation in our country pretty well.

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