TEHRAN – Iran on Thursday condemned the use of violence by the French police against peaceful protests across the country amid a wave of nationwide strikes over low wages and inappropriate working conditions.
“We are closely monitoring the popular protests and widespread strikes in France, which are based on the peaceful demands of the citizens of the country,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said.
“We condemn the use of force and violence for returning the strikers to work with no regard for their demands as well as the violent confrontation of the French police with the protesters,” he added.
Denouncing as “regrettable” the double standards of the French authorities when it comes to protests, Kanaani said, “On the one hand, they insist on committing coercive and violent measures, which have previously been used against the Yellow Vest demonstrations and also in the country’s police brutality in racial conflicts, and on the other hand, it is hypocritical to venture into preaching and creating an atmosphere of tension against other countries.”
Trade unions in France have begun a nationwide transport strike amid deadlock with the government over wages and working conditions that have in recent weeks led to severe fuel shortages across the country.
The massive strike is likely to affect public sectors such as schools and transportation, as well as the health service and energy sectors.
It comes after workers at several refineries and oil depots operated by TotalEnergies, French energy, and petroleum company voted to extend the industrial action that has paralyzed the European country for more than three weeks.
The French law enforcement
forces have on numerous occasions confronted the protesters with teargas canisters and baton charges. The authorities have also threatened to use force to send the strikers back to their workplaces.
The strikers demand what they feel should be their share of windfall profits generated by high oil and gas prices amid the global energy crisis and cost of living crisis triggered by the conflict in Ukraine.
The strike action has severely disrupted fuel distribution across the country, mostly affecting northern and central France and the Paris region. It has crippled fuel supplies by just over 30 percent while more than 60 percent of the country’s refining capacity remains offline.