May Day marchers in France pressure re-elected Macron
PARIS — Thousands of people joined May Day protests across France on Sunday to demand social justice and pay rises and to push newly re-elected President Emmanuel Macron to abandon plans to raise the retirement age.
Most of the rallies were peaceful, but in Paris police intervened after “Black Bloc” anarchists dressed in black tried to erect a barricade on a street near Place de la Republique, police said. A McDonald’s restaurant and a real estate agency in Place Léon Blum were also ransacked, their windows smashed and garbage cans set on fire.
The cost of living was the main theme of the presidential election campaign and should be just as important ahead of the June legislative elections that Macron’s party and its allies must win if it is to be able to implement its business-friendly policies. including increased pensions. age at 65 for 62
About 250 rallies were organized in Paris and other cities including Lille, Nantes, Toulouse and Marseille.
In the French capital, trade unionists were joined by politicians – mostly from the left – and climate activists.
Marchers carried banners reading ‘Retirement before arthritis’, ‘Retirement at 60, freeze prices’ and ‘Macron, get out’
“The stronger the mobilization for May Day, the more we can influence government policy,” Philippe Martinez, head of the extremist union CGT, told Reuters before the rallies.
“The government must fix the problem of purchasing power by increasing wages,” he said.
Macron won a new five-year presidential term after beating far-right challenger Marine Le Pen in the runoff last Sunday.
Far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who came third in the first round of the presidential election, took part in the Paris march.
He wants to rally a union of the left, including the Greens, to dominate parliament and force Macron into an awkward “cohabitation” but so far that has not materialized.
“We won’t make any concessions on pensions,” Melenchon said before the march began.
He said he still hoped a deal to build a new leftist “popular union” could be reached by tonight.
Unlike previous years, Marine Le Pen did not lay a wreath in Paris in front of the statue of Joan or Arc, which her party uses as a nationalist symbol. She was replaced by the interim president of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, who said that Le Pen was preparing for the legislative elections.
Le Pen urged voters in a video message to elect as many of her party’s MPs as possible in June so she can ‘protect your purchasing power’ and stop Macron carrying out a ‘project harmful to France and the French “
France will hold legislative elections on June 12 and 19.
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