NEWS

11.10.2017 | Chaos in Paris as rhousands march against Macron - riot police deployed in ugly scenes
Source - The Daily Express

Strikes were held in a number of cities across France as civil servants, teachers and nurses marched in places like Toulouse, Strasbourg and the capital Paris. They marched to mark their opposition to the social and economic reforms the President is attempting to introduce which he says will unlock economic growth and put public finances on a more sustainable footing. Ugly scenes of violence broke out in the French capital, including the smashing of a bank’s windows by marked protestors were met with riot police armed with shields and batons. It is the first time in a decade that all unions representing more than 5 million public workers have rallied behind a protest call. Turnout is an important indicator of public appetite for protest against Mr Macron's social and economic reforms, which the former investment banker says are needed to put public finances on a more sustainable footing. While unions said some 400,000 people turned out across the country, police estimates across cities appeared substantially lower than the unions. The interior ministry has yet to communicate a figure, but the economy ministry said some just 14 percent of state civil servants had been on strike and just 9.5 per cent in local administration. Protests last month against labour law reform that were led by private sector unions failed to persuade Macron to change policy course, but the French labour movement has traditionally been more muscular in the public sector. Strike notices were lodged in schools, hospitals, airports and government ministries over plans to axe 120,000 jobs, freeze pay and reduce sick leave compensation. The civil aviation authority said 30 percent of flights at airports nationwide had been cancelled but there was no disruption on the rail network. The Ministry of Education said fewer than one in five teachers were on strike. Unions have been divided over Macron's reforms so far, with only the Communist Party-rooted CGT spearheading street demonstrations against the loosening of employment laws. In Lyon, Force Ouvriere union boss Jean-Claude Mailly said he would not support the CGT's call for the labour law decrees to be scrapped after weeks of negotiations between government and unions. But he said there would be other battles to fight with a united front. Mr Mailly said: ”There are other issues ahead: unemployment insurance, pension reform, the matter of public services.”


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