Paris

French President Emanuel Macron hopes to show bosses and the stock market he has a plan for recovery through the next few months, without half a million people dead or mass rioting in the streets, writes John Mullen.

Paris protest against Prayut

As Thailand's military dictator, Prime Minister and former General Prayut Chan-o-cha visited Europe last week in a desperate attempt to woo more foreign investment, Thai democracy rights protesters rallied in Paris, London and Bonn, calling for his arrest for crimes against his own people. They also called upon European governments to put human rights before profits.

A large march against austerity took place in Paris on April 12. Organised around the slogan “Enough is enough”, the theme of the demonstration was “against austerity, for equality and sharing the wealth”. At the head of the march were leaders of the French left: Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the Left Party, Pierre Laurent, leader of the Communist Party of France, and the New Anti-capitalist Party's Olivier Besancenot.
In what marks a significant shift in the balance of European politics, in the final round presidential election on May 6, Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande defeated right-wing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy of the centre-right Union for a Popular Movement by almost 52% to 48%. Hollande is France's first president from the social democratic Socialist Party in France in 17 years. Sarkozy is the first president since 1981 not to win a second term.
Presidential elections in France are a media spectacle rivalled perhaps only by those in the United States. In day-to-day life, there is also a real buzz as people argue and discuss the race on worksites, the street and, habitually, in cafes. Streets are plastered with posters of candidates and clever activist propaganda (over the top of some street signs here, activists have put up “Impasse Sarkozy”).
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