French rioters storm Paris HQ of luxury firm behind Louis Vuitton
Rioters storm Paris HQ of luxury goods firm behind Louis Vuitton – days after its chairman was named world’s richest man with £168billion fortune – as pension reform protests grip France
- France’s labour unions have staged several strikes against pension reforms
- More than 100 workers stormed the LMVH headquarters in Paris today
- LVMH has been a frequent target in protests thanks to post-pandemic rebound
Hundreds of French workers have stormed the Paris headquarters of luxury group LVMH as France faced another day engulfed in riots over President Emmanuel Macron’s hated pension reforms.
Protesters called for the rich to contribute more to financing the state pension, just days after LVMH chief Bernard Arnault dethroned Elon Musk as the richest man in the world with his net worth growing more than £40bn ($50bn) to £168bn ($211bn).
The French company, which owns Louis Vuitton, Dior and Tiffany & Co, has benefited from a post-pandemic rebound in demand for luxury goods, and its shares have risen nearly 26 per cent since the start of this year, cementing its lead as Europe’s most valuable company.
More than 100 protesters congregated at the wood-panelled entrance hall of the building on the exclusive Avenue Montaigne before climbing an escalator to the upper floors, while others filled the street waving flags of the railway workers’ union Sud Rail.
Footage showed protesters storming the LVMH headquarters, armed with red flares and flags as they made their way through the big glass doors and filled out the building.
Hundreds of French workers have stormed the Paris headquarters of luxury group LVMH
More than 100 protesters congregated at the wood-panelled entrance hall of the building on the exclusive Avenue Montaigne
Footage posted on social media showed protesters storming the LVMH headquarters, armed with red flares and flags
It comes just days after LVMH chief Bernard Arnault (pictured) dethroned Elon Musk as the richest man in the world
‘If you’re looking for money to finance pensions, take it from the pockets of billionaires,’ said Fabien Villedieu, a representative of the Sud Rail union said, stressing that the protest was ‘symbolic and peaceful.’
Billionaire Bernard Arnault has been a frequent target in slogans and chants during protests in France thanks in part to his firm’s post-pandemic profits.
He lives in a stunning 150-year-old castle in northwest Saint-Emilion in Bordeaux, France, that has belonged to the billionaire’s family since 1998, while he also owns a stunning home in the ultra-prestigious Les Parcs de Saint-Tropez enclave.
The demonstration comes after LVMH also posted a 17 per cent jump in sales to £18.5billion for three months to the end of March – more than double the 8 per cent rise in revenues expected by analysts.
READ MORE: Louis Vuitton boss Bernard Arnault becomes richest man in the world worth $211BN
The latest protest today adds to the ongoing strikes and marches which have gripped Paris since mid-January in response to Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the legal retirement age without a parliamentary vote.
Today, thousands of protesters took to the streets of France yet again as trade unions urged a show of force on the streets a day before the Constitutional Council’s ruling on the legality of the bill that would raise the retirement age by two years to 64.
The government says it is necessary to raise the retirement age for most workers to balance the pension budget in years to come.
However, the passionate unions, who show no sign of backing down, say the money can be found elsewhere.
Earlier today, firefighters were seen tackling a white Mercedes on fire in the middle of Rennes – the capital city of Brittany, northwest France.
Thick plumes of smoke were seen rising into the air as roaring flames ripped through the luxury car.
Meanwhile, in Paris, staggering photos showed riot police chasing protesters through the streets on another day in which the capital was brought to a standstill.
Thousands of protesters gathered on the streets of France ahead of tomorrow’s ruling over whether Mr Macron’s decision to push his retirement plans through without a parliamentary vote was legal. Pictured: Protesters in Bordeaux
Passionate unions, who show no sign of backing down, say the money can be found in other ways than raising the pension age. Pictured: Riot police clear protesters away in Paris
French gendarmes have been mobilised in their thousands to deal with the continuous strikes
A white Mercedes was set ablaze during a demonstration in Rennes, northwestern France, today
Firefighters had to tackle the ablaze Mercedes as thick flumes of smoke rose into the air
The damaged facade of a Lidl supermarket, is defaced with graffiti which reads ‘Lidl, too expensive’ during a demonstration in Rennes
Just a fortnight ago, French officials braced themselves for the biggest security operation in the country’s recent history when more than a million people took part in marches.
Gérald Darmanin, the country’s Interior Minister, said that the country was set for ‘fire and blood’ as he mobilised tens of thousands of police.
READ MORE: Emmanuel Macron is heckled by banner-waving protesters screaming ‘where is French democracy?’
While the number of people taking to the streets has fallen, there are still hundreds of thousands still lining the streets.
Shocking footage from Paris has uncovered widespread violence, with uncollected garbage set on fire and tear gas creating a constant fog in the Parisian air.
Tomorrow, France’s Constitutional Council will rule on whether Mr Macron’s decision to push his retirement plans through without a parliamentary vote was legal.
The president, who has so far snubbed talks with unions, has agreed to discuss the ongoing conflict after the ruling.
Mr Macron was interrupted and heckled by protesters on Tuesday as he delivered a keynote speech about European sovereignty in The Hague during a state visit to the Netherlands.
Meanwhile yesterday, another man was heard shouting ‘We are here! We are here!’ as he charged towards Mr Macron before being tackled to the ground at the University of Amsterdam.
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