PARIS – Striking forensic officers in Paris threw overalls daubed in fake blood in front of the interior ministry, as the grizzly protest comes amid mass opposition to French President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension reforms. France’s technical and scientific police say that although they make up only two percent of the national police payroll, they solve a third of the country’s investigations, RT reported.
They say that though their job is often physically and psychologically dangerous, the French government refuses to acknowledge this, labeling their work as more sedentary than that of “active” police officers. Some 80 percent of these technical officers are on strike, union leader Xavier Depecker told RT France, claiming that higher-ups have harassed and intimidated aggrieved workers into returning to work.
With discontent within the ranks at boiling point, a group of forensic officers marched to Paris’ Place Beauvau on Wednesday and tossed their white overalls – stained with fake blood – in front of the interior ministry. The protest came after Interior Minister Christophe Castaner allegedly refused a meeting with the striking officers.
Prior to their ‘bloody’ protest, the officers found their path to the ministry blocked by gendarmes, rather than their own police colleagues. The forensic officers join droves of other public sector workers in opposing Macron’s “one-size-fits-all” pension scheme.
The scheme would replace France’s existing system, in which different professions retire at different ages and with different benefits – with a universal, points-based structure. Under this structure, forensic officers would come away with less than their “active” colleagues.
“If Castaner comes into the field with us and finds a severed head in a microwave, he may understand,” a union member told RT France earlier this month.
The crime scene investigators are not the only group of workers to symbolically disrobe in protest. Lawyers across the country hung up their gowns this week in solidarity with demonstrators, while more than 1,200 doctors resigned over shortfalls in hospital funding, some of them ditching their coats in protest.
Transit workers, nurses, teachers, refinery workers and port workers also joined marches in recent days, alongside Yellow Vests demonstrators, who have been protesting Macron’s policies for over a year. More than 1.3 million people reportedly took part in protests across the country last weekend.