France: Thousands Protest Against Reforms as Macron Prepares to Mark First Year in Office

Students, railroaders, pensioners are uniting against Macron’s austerity measures and neo-liberal policies.

5 May 2018

Thousands have taken to the streets in France to protest against President Emmanuel Macron, whose first year in office has been marked by many neo-liberal reforms and a series of austerity measures. Macron’s government program has led to him receiving historically low approval rating amid a series of strikes by railway workers, students, pensioners and others.

The left-wing political movement La France Insoumise (Untamed France) called for a day of “festive” protest Saturday, days ahead the first anniversary of Macron taking office. The movement’s head, Jean-Luke Melenchon, proposed the slogan “Let’s Make a Holiday for Macron,” to “celebrate” his first year.

The protest aims to lift the voices of railroaders, public servers, pensioners, and students, who are among the groups most affected by Macron’s policies.

Demonstrators gathered at the Opera Square in Paris and later moved about 4 kilometers away to the Bastille. Over 2,000 police officers and gendarmerie have been called to duty in an attempt to contain them, according to police chief Michel Delpuech. The marches come just days after rioters were accused of starting fires and attacking stores during May 1 protests in Paris and other parts of the country.