Fresh street protests challenge Macron's labor reform
September 25,2017 By:Xinhua
PARIS, Sept.25,2017-- A week after thousands marched in the country's streets protesting new labor rules, nationwide rallies took part on Thursday in a fresh move that opponents hope will be strong enough to force President Emmanuel Macron to reconsider.
The hard-left CGT labor union hoped 200 rallies would be held across the country. CGT chief Philippe Martinez said the anti-labor protests would be "further stronger in the coming weeks".
Last week, CGT said half a million responded to the union call while police said 222,000 protesters turned out in French cities.
In other action, truck drivers will strike on Monday, pensioners on Sept. 28 and civil servants on Oct. 10.
The hard-left France Unbowed party of Jean-Luc Melenchon plans its own protest on Saturday. "We are combative and this is only the beginning," said Melenchon who joined the Paris protest on Thursday.
"I think we can get this reform removed. In a democracy, political leaders are aware of the balance of powers that exists. One cannot impose on people something they did not want," he added.
Despite demonstrations, the government stood firm and passed reform which it deemed necessary for competitiveness. Critics say the new labor rules will further weaken workers' rights.
"I do believe in democracy. And democracy is not on the street," Macron said during the UN Assembly in New York.
"I was clear during my campaign about these reforms. I explained these reforms, I introduced these reforms for weeks and I was elected for that," he added.
Macron's government plans to enact the new labor decrees on Friday.