The standoff is part of nationwide demonstrations as France continues to struggle with an unemployment rate parked at over 10 percent. Lawmakers in the country are currently deciding on whether or not to back a European Union agreement that will see France agree to balance its finances in an attempt to slow the continent's debt crisis. Such austerity measures are unpopular in France, and were the leading issue driving former President Nicolas Sarkozy from office. Socialist President Francois Hollande earned the office after campaigning on a platform that promised to tackle the French deficit without stifling growth or imposing austerity measures.
The CGT labor union has responded to the EU agreement by organizing this week's demonstrations.