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France

Three found guilty in Air France 'shirt-ripping' trial

media A shirtless Xavier Broseta (R), Executive Vice President for Human Resources and Labour Relations at Air France, is evacuated by security after employees interrupted a meeting with representatives staff at the Air France headquarters REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

Three former Air France employees on trial for ripping company executives' shirts during a dispute over lay-offs were found guilty on Wednesday in a case that highlighted the country's sometimes violent labour relations.

Appearing in court in northeast Paris, three defendants were given suspended prison sentences of 3-4 months over the attack in October 2015 that left one executive naked to the waist and another with his shirt and jacket in tatters.

Appearing in court in northeast Paris, two others who faced the same charges of "organised violence" were acquitted.

Images of furious activists chasing down the executives at the airline's headquarters on the edge of Paris made headlines around the world when the confrontation took place.

The protests were led by the hard-left CGT, France's largest union, over the airline's plans to cut 2,900 jobs.

Ten other former and current employees from the company were fined 500 euros ($530) on Wednesday for damaging the company's property after they broke down a gate at the headquarters during the demonstration.

Pierre Plissonnier, director of long-haul operations at the airline, had told the court of his "humiliation" at seeing pictures of himself scrambling over a fence to escape the mob.

The court also viewed footage of the incident in which a worker can be heard threatening human resources boss Xavier Broseta before he has his shirt ripped off in front of television cameras.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls had called for the defendants, whom he branded "rogues", to be given stiff sentences.
 

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