French Prison Guards, Police Clash

FRESNES, France (AP) -- Protesting French prison guards have pushed back against riot police and shouted down the justice minister amid demonstrations at several prisons over violent inmates and overcrowding.

Dozens of union activists lit a fire and were surrounded by riot police Tuesday morning at the notoriously violent Fresnes prison southeast of Paris.

Protesters bellowing the national anthem greeted Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet as she visited a prison in Vendin-le-Vieil in northern France on Tuesday to try to calm tensions.

The protests in multiple French prisons were sparked by a knife attack last week at the Vendin-le-Vieil prison. Authorities say inmate Christian Ganczarski, linked to a 2002 synagogue attack in Tunisia, was given preliminary charges of attempted murder.

In a separate incident, seven guards were injured by an inmate Monday in a prison in southwest France.