France's Hollande booed at war dead commemorations in Paris

France's Hollande booed at war dead commemorations in Paris

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Frances Hollande booed at war dead commemorations in Paris

French president Francois Hollande attends on November 11, 2013 in Oyonnax, central France, a ceremony commemorating the WW1 armistice. AFP PHOTO

A solemn event presided over by French President Francois Hollande to remember those who died in World War I turned into a shouting match Monday after protesters booed the unpopular leader.

To the anger of others who had come to commemorate the millions killed in the 1914-18 war, onlookers shouted "Hollande resign" and "Socialist dictatorship" as the president was driven up the French capital's famous Champs-Elysees avenue.

"You have no right to exploit November 11. You're a disgrace for France!", screamed one onlooker at the Remembrance Day ceremony.

Scuffles broke out between protesters and security forces, and police said 73 people had been detained, some of whom were linked to far-right movements, including a grouping called the "French Spring" that opposes France's gay marriage law.


Demonstrators hold papers reading:" Hollande,
resignation, go away" in Oyonnax, south-eastern
France, November 11, 2013 while French
president Francois Hollande was attending
a ceremony to commemorate the end of the
World War One. REUTERS photo

Some of those shouting slogans against Hollande were wearing red bonnets, headwear that has come to symbolise a growing feeling of despondency over rising taxes and record unemployment in France.

The so-called "red bonnet" movement emerged last month in the hard-hit agricultural region of Brittany, where people took to the streets wearing the hats in reference to a famous 17th-century "Red Bonnet Revolt" against tax rises.

But Christian Troadec, a spokesman for the Breton movement, condemned the Paris protesters, saying they had "nothing to do with our movement." Undeterred, Hollande continued his procession along the avenue and laid a wreath of flowers in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in memory of all the servicemen who died during the war.

The protest comes as the French leader's popularity ratings hit record lows, with a poll by research firm Ipsos published Monday showing only 21 percent of the French approve of his policies, down from 24 percent in October.

Ceremonies commemorating Remembrance Day were also disrupted in the southeastern town of Chateaurenard, where the mayor and two other people were assaulted and stabbed, police said.
The injuries of the three victims are not life-threatening. According to an initial probe, the attacker may have had mental health problems.