Left-wing protesters say 'enough' to Macron's French reforms

Left-wing protesters say 'enough' to Macron's French reforms

Left-wing protesters say 'enough' to Macron's French reforms

The march was called to coincide with the visit of the French president Emmanuel Macron who arrived yesterday.

Smaller rallies took place in the southern cities of Toulouse and Bordeaux while the Paris one kicked off with a mass picnic which drew numerous families. The 40-year old centrist president has ushered in reforms tackling everything from education, employment, and the state rail operator.

Protest officials insisted the march would be "joyful and festive", although government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux expressed fears the demonstration could turn violent. This was reported in Twitter of the left party "Unconquered France", which organized the demonstration.

Violence scarred May Day protests in Paris earlier this week.

He noted that the protest's name, the "Fete a Macron", can have a double meaning in French - either celebrating someone, or trying to do them harm.

The president's comment quickly sparked lighthearted reaction on social media and in the Australian press amid lively conjecture about the French leader's intent.

Mr Macron said France played a geo-political and military role in this zone, with the presence of 8,000 soldiers.

Yet despite simmering protest movements, on the 50th anniversary of the May 1968 student riots that brought France to its knees, unions have lost clout and the mood is far from revolutionary.

"People have the right to challenge him", said Ruffin, a journalist whose documentary "Merci Patron", about a poor couple who take on France's richest man, captured an angry zeitgeist and filled cinemas in 2015. Some 45 percent of French people gave Macron's first year in office the thumbs up, according to a poll of more than 13,500 by Ipsos-Sopra Steria published on Saturday in Le Monde, with the planned overhaul of the SNCF proving the most popular reform.

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