Thousands protest against Macron in Paris amid calls for strike
Leftist coalition head Jean-Luc Mélenchon leads anti-government protests in Paris and calls for a general strike nationwide.
Tens of thousands of French people took to the streets on Sunday in protest of the government's performance, Macron's economic plans for the country, and the rising costs of living. The protests were predominantly led by the country's leftist coalition.
"Tens of thousands are participating in the protests going on in the French capital," Al Mayadeen's correspondent said. "The wave of rage throughout France has seen an uptick in light of the repercussions of the Ukraine war on the global economy and the surging inflation."
(2) it was a huge protest pic.twitter.com/g7TJ5bakpa— Raam Beart 🥭 (@raam_beart) October 16, 2022
The leftist parties, Al Mayadeen's correspondent added, are demanding the government resign as leftist representatives and unions called for protests to become widespread and go on for as long as needed starting Tuesday.
Unity of utmost importance
La France Insoumise and leftist coalition leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon underlined that a new kind of popular front was crystalizing in France at the moment.
"We're going to have a week the likes of which we don't see very often," Mélenchon said from the middle of the crowd. "Everything is coming together. We are starting it with this march, which is an immense success."
So far, several French unions have announced a national day of strikes on Tuesday, which is expected to mainly affect road transport, trains, and the public sector.
Le patronat a cru qu'il pourrait jouer le pourrissement et opposer les uns aux autres.— Jean-Luc Mélenchon (@JLMelenchon) October 16, 2022
Ce qui est plus précieux que tout, c'est l'unité du peuple lui-même qui ne se laisse pas diviser par sa couleur de peau, sa religion, son appartenance politique ou son indifférence.#LaMarche pic.twitter.com/e4f4I58nSE
Some 140,000 people participated in the Parisian protests that took place today after police only thought around 30,000 would be attending.
The mass demonstrations are taking place three weeks into a refinery strike that has caused fuel scarcity across the country, adding to a growing picture of defiance and anger about inflation.
"You can see that this movement is starting to spread," the parliamentary head of the left-wing La France Insoumise party, Mathilde Panot, said as quoted by Franceinfo radio.
"You can see it in the nuclear sector. Truck drivers have announced a stoppage on Tuesday, and lots of other sectors are starting to join them," she added.
TotalEnergies, the French energy giant, announced last Friday that it had reached a pay agreement with the two largest unions representing workers at its four refineries, putting an end to the standoff.
Around one-third of the country's gas stations are out of stock, particularly those near Paris and in the north, leaving drivers waiting for hours to refuel.
Last week, the government used emergency powers to force some striking fuel depot workers to return to work in order to release fuel stocks that had become trapped inside blockaded facilities.
The magnitude of the upcoming protests and strikes may have an impact on the government's ability to push through a highly contentious change to the pension system after he promised to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65 to bring France in line with the rest of Europe.