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Massive Paris May Day March Continues to Challenge President Macron
Over 100,000 working people in the streets again say to retirement age increase "non, c'est non!" (no means no!)
Photos: Leon Kunstenaar / Pro Bono PhotoMay 1, May Day to working people throughout the world, was celebrated in Paris with a huge march of over 100,000 people.
The main theme of the action was the continuing refusal to accept yet another increase in the retirement age. Other demands proclaimed were opposition to proposed anti immigration laws (sound familiar?) and demands that undocumented workers be legalized.
France's large and powerful unions were out in force. Environmental activists and various left liberation movements from other countries made their presence clear. Intense drumming along with singing and dancing lent joy and unity to the day.
Some protesters dressed as Gauls, the ancient tribe from which the French supposedly emanated, many were union people with colored union vests. Undocumented Black workers showed themselves to be organized with their own flags and banners. Many marchers were just ordinary people, part of the 70% of the French who feel that retirement is more that what you do after work and before dying. They see it as a time to enjoy a work free life in which you give something back to the society and mentor the young.
Halfway down the march route, the eloquent leader of the left "Insoumis" (unsubmissive) party, Jean Luc Melenchon, gave a fiery speech. "Down with this bad republic" he shouted, demanding a 6th republic that would have no almost monarchical president.
In mild weather, with an occasional rain squall, the thousands gathered at Paris's iconic protest location, Republic Place to march to Nations Place, several miles away. At the march's end black clad youths burned trash bins and some cars. Hundreds were arrested and Gerald Darmanin, the hated interior minister, emphasized injuries done to police. Similar scenarios played out in other French cities.
Mainstream press framed the May Day actions as evidence that one of the movement's songs "on lache rien" (we let go of nothing) was still very much in force.
See all high resolution photos here.
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