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  • Some 26 remain in custody on charges including suspicion of planning vandalism or weapons possession.

    Some 26 remain in custody on charges including suspicion of planning vandalism or weapons possession. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 May 2018

On Sunday, marchers in the trade union organized event descended on the Bastille to show their opposition to the changes.

Thousands of people flooded the streets of France to demonstrate against President Emmanuel Macron’s economic reforms.

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"In the name of the poor, the humiliated, the homeless and the jobless, we are telling you, 'Enough, enough of this world,'" leader of the far-left Defiant France party leader, Jean-Luc Melenchon, said.

On Sunday, marchers in the trade union-organized event descended on the Bastille to show their opposition to the changes. Protests were held across 160 locations in cities including Paris, Marseille and Nantes.

Macron says his economic changes are meant to increase France's global competitiveness, adding that the protests will not block the country.

"No disorder will stop me, and calm will return."

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb accused the protesters, and by extension the unions, of being “passive complicity” with people who have smashed shops and banks and set fire to cars during demonstrations.

“What is astonishing is that the black blocs can do what they are doing in the middle of a crowd that, at the end of the day, does nothing. If we want to have the right to demonstrate, those taking part must oppose those smashing things up and not, by their passiveness, be accomplices to what is happening from a certain point of view,” Collomb said.

Former presidential candidate Benoit Hamon countered the foreign minister saying: “It’s for the police to protect the demonstrations instead of making us responsible for the behavior of an ultra-violent few.”

French train drivers have been protesting the Macron government reforms for the past three months. In recent demonstrations, Air France staff, students and other workers have joined the drivers.

Some 26 of 43 people who were arrested in Paris, remain detained on charges including suspicion of planning vandalism or weapons possession. Police estimated that 21,000 people took part in the Paris protest, while unions put the number at 80,000.

More than 1,500 police officers were dispatched in Paris.

Demonstrators denounced the overhaul of labor rules that would reduce worker protections, laws increasing police powers, a plan making it harder for students to attend the public universities of their choice, more restrictive immigration laws and police methods in underprivileged neighborhoods that protesters consider "repressive."


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