Clashes as 220,000 march against Emmanuel Macron’s labour reforms in France

Clashes as 220,000 march against Emmanuel Macron’s labour reforms in France

9
0
SHARE

More than 220,000 protesters have taken part in marches across France against Emmanuel Macron’s labour reforms, with some clashes breaking out.

Observers says that despite the massive numbers, the turnout is lower than it has been at other protests in France in the last few years.

The day of strikes and rallies organised by unions and left-wing activists is being seen as the recently victorious French President’s first major domestic test.

About 4,000 strikes and 180 protests were called by France’s biggest union, the CGT.

It urged rail workers, students and civil servants to demonstrate against Mr Macron’s plans to make France more attractive for local companies and foreign investors.

Changes Mr Macron wants to bring in will give firms with more flexibility when negotiating terms and conditions with their employees and reduce the costs of firing workers.

The 39-year-old President angered his opponents last week when he said critics of his government were “slackers, cynics and extremists”.

On Tuesday, protesters seized on the remark with some daubing the word on banners and placards.

Others shouted: “Macron you’re screwed, the slackers are in the street.”

Police used tear gas to contain protesters in Nantes.

In Paris, video pictures showed waves of heavily armed police clashing with masked protesters, some of whom also carried batons.

Running battles took place on the city’s streets, with authorities eventually deploying water cannon in an attempt to bring about order.

In Marseille, protesters were joined by French far-left politician Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Mr Melenchon, who fronts the ‘France Unbowed’ movement, said the President took a strategic decision to insult protesters with his “slackers” comments.

The government plans to adopt the new measures, by decree, on 22 September.

Mr Macron was in Guadeloupe, dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, when the protests took place.

(c) Sky News 2017: Clashes as 220,000 march against Emmanuel Macron’s labour reforms in France