French workers take to streets against privatisations

Protest against privatisations, May 22.

French police and protesters clashed in Paris on May 22 after unions — angered by years of public-sector pay cuts and President Emmanuel Macron's economic reforms — urged state employees to stop work and join nationwide street protests.

Riot police charged at protesters with batons in central Paris, firing stun grenades and tear gas. Police said 20 demonstrators were arrested.

The demonstration was called by the large labour unions plus many smaller ones, and involved the organisation of street rallies in about 140 cities, towns and villages across France.

Postal workers, air traffic controllers, state teachers and public administration workers joined marches to denounce an erosion of spending power and public services under Macron.

French electricity grid operator RTE said the strike reduced nuclear electricity generation by 2 gigawatts as several nuclear reactors operated by state-controlled utility EDF were forced to cut production.

A spokesperson for state energy company EDF said about 15.5% of the company’s staff took part in the strike.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]