Paris Hit by Massive Protest against Macron’s Labor Reforms
Demonstrators hold a banner reading, "Against the social coup d’état" during a protest over the president’s labour reforms in Paris
Islam Times - Tens of thousands of protestors have marched the streets of Paris on Saturday to condemn President Emmanuel Macron's far-reaching reforms of the labor code.
“The battle is not over, it’s just beginning,” far-Left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon told cheering supporters at a rally on the Place de la République which march organizers said gathered 150,000 people but which police said had drawn just 30,000.
The centrist president formally signed the labor decrees - making hiring and firing easier and giving companies more power over working condition - on Friday in a ceremony broadcast live on television. The decrees also reduce French unions’ influence over workplace rules
Macron argues that the changes - the cornerstone of his program aimed at boosting entrepreneurship - will help bring down France’s stubbornly high unemployment, which at 9.6 percent is double that of Britain or Germany.
The protesters are also angry that Macron used a special procedure allowing the government to change labor law by executive order instead going through a lengthy debate to pass a bill in parliament.
Macron lauded the “unprecedented wave of changes” to France’s social model, along with changes to unemployment benefits and a training plan for jobless people that will be set up next year.
The march on Saturday - which came just two days after 130,000 people demonstrated across France - was seen as test of whether resistance to Macron’s reforms was holding up or would fizzle out. Saturday’s demonstration further reflected wider frustration with the new French president’s leadership.
Mélenchon's France Unbowed party was also hoping for a show of force to reinforce its credentials as Macron's strongest political opponent.
Earlier, marchers stretched along Paris boulevards waving French tricolor flags, union banners and signs reading “Macron, Resign!”
“It’s the street that brought down the kings. It’s the street that brought down the Nazis,” said Melenchon, who is trying to position himself as France’s main opposition figure.
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