Mass protests in France put Macron to the test

The unions won the first battle in their war on Thursday against Hizb’s reform project The national retirement system A proposal from the government of Emmanuel Macron, whose presidential mandate is entering a minefield.

Between 1.12 and 2 million demonstrators, according to data from the Ministry of the Interior and the central trade unions, took to the streets on Thursday in Paris and all provincial capitals, to reject and demand the withdrawal of a reform project that had already been cut off. his ambitions a lot.

Between 2018 and 2020, it was Yellow jacket social ringwormFinally, union demonstrations and the pandemic have buried Macron’s grand reform, the first step in his ambition to overhaul France and re-establish the European Union.

Three years later, Thursday’s 250 demonstrations across France and a series of national strikes had a much greater force than those of 2019, which ended with Macron’s major reform abandonment.

Huge hits

Thursday’s result is worrying for Macron.

Hundreds of thousands of peaceful and determined protesters in Paris and all over France. Trade unionists in the energy sector impose random shutdowns and blackouts. Mass stops and closures in education, the public sector and health. Between 35 and 59 percent of teachers and professors are on strike. Thousands of schools and institutes closed. Young people who vote to the far right are participating in the same demonstrations as young people to the far left. Half of the railway workers are technically or totally unemployed. Public transport in Paris and major cities runs haphazardly…

Faced with the apparent victory of the first day of protests, all trade union centrists called for a second day of strikes and demonstrations, The next day is the 31st of the same month January, eleven days from now. New calls will follow throughout February.

Macron, pale and nervous, began to respond without concessions from Barcelona, ​​​​and insisted on the solid nature of his projects: “The reform was presented in a democratic way and, above all, it is fair and responsible.” He commented on the possible “amendments” presented thus: “My government will continue the dialogue, but in a spirit of responsibility.”

An emergency poll by the conservative newspaper Le Figaro showed that 53/54 percent of French people think Macron has been defeated.

A battle begins on various political, parliamentary, trade union and street fronts. After cheering unions with their first win, they don’t just advertise new calls Strikes and demonstrations: They demand the simple and absolute withdrawal of the project.

Over the course of twenty-eight years, unions have been able to withdraw in whole or in part from successive reform projects of the pension system in the years 1995, 2003, 2008, 2010 and 2017, which has caused Serious political crises. The unions’ recent victory, over Macron himself in 2019, is an ominous sign. Three years later, the president revises his earlier ambitions downward, but the unions overlook the presidential humiliation.

According to an emergency poll by the conservative newspaper Le Figaro, 53/54 percent of French people think Macron has been defeated. And the vast majority have a bad opinion of the president and his reform project.

In an effort to leave room for negotiations open, Elizabeth Bourne, the Prime Minister, commented on the outbreak of violence, in the Parisian demonstration, on Thursday afternoon, as follows: «I must welcome the commitment Law enforcement and unionsThis allowed the demonstrations to end in good conditions. Allowing opinions to be expressed freely is essential to democracy. Let us continue to argue and persuade.

downward review

The current reform project is the result of a downward revision of the major reform of three years ago. Before presenting the bill in the National Assembly, on January 10, the Prime Minister herself unsuccessfully prolonged it Consult with unions. No significant results. Unions continue to demand the complete withdrawal of the project.

The unions demand a new day of struggle, within ten days, and affirm their determination to confront resistance and parliamentary opposition in the National Assembly.

Five years ago, Macron solemnly declared, at the Historical Unit at the Sorbonne, that he wanted to “reform France to re-establish Europe”. Neither Germany nor Eastern Europe rejected the macro projects of «European military and industrial supremacy». Macron loves to talk about international politics with Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, but his most ambitious reform project is tied to state deficits, public debt and street protests.

Calling for a new day of struggle, in ten days, the unions confirm their resolve

This is the European dimension of the presidential project for the pension system, which the rest of Europe thinks of as a reserve.

RTL (the first private national radio channel) asked early Thursday night: “Is Macron risking his presidential term?” “A dangerous response to the future of the presidency,” added TF1, the first private TV channel. «Serious and unexpected confrontationLe Monde commented. “Macron’s authoritarian style revolves in a vacuum,” Le Figaro remarked. “The government is out of breath,” declared Eric Ciotti, the leader of Los Republicanos. “Macron’s reform is unfair,” said Marine Le Pen. Far-leftists, socialists, communists and ecologists are tougher against Macron.

The Guilds had won the first battle. But an unpredictable war was declared. Macron has been touched, but he can resist, Even winning, bad that’s good. On the contrary, the ongoing crisis highlights the fragile and combustible state of a deeply divided and fragmented France.

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