(Rennes) Several hundred fishermen demonstrated in Rennes on Wednesday in a tense atmosphere to protest against the regulations which put them “in the way”.
The demonstrators – 400 in number according to the police -, to which were added young radical activists, gathered in the middle of the morning, with firecrackers and smoke bombs, on the Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle, where they were initially to stay.
Around 11 a.m., they left in the direction of the Parliament of Brittany, generating strong tensions with the police who were trying to repel them from the historic center with tear gas and water cannons.
“ The 400 demonstrators departing from the declared place of demonstration and throwing projectiles at the police, they had to use tear gas means ”, indicated the prefecture, which underlines the “ risk of starting fire due to the “ multiple firing of red rockets ” by the demonstrators.
Rennes remains marked by the fire of the Parliament of Brittany on February 5, 1994, after a violent demonstration by fishermen-sailors. The fire had smoldered for several hours after the firing of a distress rocket, which went unnoticed, before igniting the roof of the building.
On Wednesday, two injured “ in relative emergency ”, including a protester “ injured by another protester with a rocket ” and a woman, were transported by firefighters to hospital, according to the same source.
This demonstration by fishermen aims to denounce “ the regulations and persecution of the Directorate of Maritime Affairs ”, while the Council of State ordered on Monday to close certain fishing areas in the Atlantic in order to protect dolphins.
“We are very upset against the decision of the Council of State. If we can’t go to these areas for four months, we can sell the boat,” said Ludovic, 51, a fisherman in Lorient (Morbihan).
“ The first claim is the price of diesel and also the lack of listening from professional structures and the State ”, declared David le Quintrec, fishing boss in Lorient.
“We can’t take it anymore, the sector is doing very badly, we’re having trouble paying our crews. If we close fishing areas in the Bay of Biscay, we will no longer be able to work,” he continued.