Thursday, November 30, 2023

Scuffles break out as French strike to call for higher wages

Scuffles break out as French strike to call for higher wages
October 19, 2022 Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - Dozens of black-clad protesters clashed with police and broke shop windows on Tuesday on the margins of a demonstration when several thousand people took to the streets of Paris to call for wage hikes as high inflation eats away their purchasing power.

11 people were arrested in Paris, the interior ministry said in the early evening, adding that 107,000 people nationwide followed the protest call from leftwing parties and some unions, including 13,000 in the capital. The hardline CGT trade union said 70,000 people took part in the march in Paris.

Regional train traffic was cut by about half as several unions called a nationwide strike, seeking to capitalise on anger at decades-high inflation to expand weeks of industrial action at oil refineries to other economic sectors.

"The question of wages is the French people's number one priority," the head of the CGT union, Philippe Martinez, said ahead of the march. "It's more than urgent," he said.

"At some point it's no longer manageable," Laetitia Berthault, one of the protesters said, pointing to a pay rise of just 10 euros per month from the furniture chain she works for. "I'm a single mother, two children. We tighten our belts ... we have no choice. But it's not easy."

As the march got more tense, Reuters reporters saw police charge at protesters while footage of hooded, black-clad people breaking shop windows emerged on social media.


Tuesday's protests, which have been promoted by opposition politicians for weeks, were small when compared to those of the yellow vest movement or the opposition to a rents reform during President Emmanuel Macron's first term as president.