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French Security Forces and Demonstrators in Conflict over Farm Reservoir

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Protesters and French security forces clashed over the construction of agricultural reservoirs in the southwest.

The violent scenes in Saite-Soline in western France came after days of violent protests across the country over President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform that led to the cancellation of a visit by King Charles III of the United Kingdom.

A long procession set off late in the morning, which included at least 6,000 people according to local authorities and about 25,000 according to the organizers.

Officials said more than 3,000 members of the security forces have been deployed, with “at least 1,000” potentially violent activists, including some from Italy.

Agence France-Presse correspondents reported that violent clashes broke out around the construction site, which was quickly defended by police, between security forces and extremist militants.

Protesters threw several projectiles and improvised explosive devices, and the police responded with tear gas and water cannons.

“As the country rises to defend pensions, at the same time we will stand up to defend water,” said the organizers, who gathered under the slogan “Passin Unmerciful” (“No to reservoirs, thank you”).

Eleven people have already been arrested after police seized cold weapons, including batanks, meat knives and explosives.

The protest over pension reform has turned into the biggest domestic crisis in Macron’s second term, with daily clashes on the streets of Paris and other cities between police and demonstrators.

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