French workers protest attacks, Macron refuses to backdown

May 29, 2018

Thousands of people flooded the streets of France to demonstrate against President Emmanuel Macron’s economic reforms on May 27. “In the name of the poor, the humiliated, the homeless and the jobless, we are telling you, ‘Enough, enough of this world’,” leader of the left-wing France Unbowed party, Jean-Luc Melenchon, said.

Marchers in the trade union-organised event descended on the Bastille to show their opposition to the changes. Protests were held across 160 locations in cities including Paris, Marseille and Nantes.  Police estimated that 21,000 people took part in the Paris protest, while unions put the number at 80,000.

Macron says his economic changes are meant to increase France’s global competitiveness, adding that the protests will not block the country. “No disorder will stop me, and calm will return.”

French train drivers have been protesting the Macron government reforms, which seek ot attack their conditins and pave the way for privatisation of the rail system, for the past three months. In recent demonstrations, Air France staff, students and other workers have joined the drivers.

Demonstrators denounced the overhaul of labor rules that would reduce worker protections, laws increasing police powers, a plan making it harder for students to attend the public universities of their choice, more restrictive immigration laws and police methods in underprivileged neighborhoods that protesters consider “repressive”.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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