France

France: Huge strikes shake Europe

Huge strikes and protests are rocking France, with the threat of greater shocks to come as a hated labour law “counter-reform” is debated in the French Senate.

The Socialist Party government is trying to force through the so-called El Khomri law, which would eliminate long-held workers’ protections. But the law has stirred huge resistance, expressed in different forms, from the occupation of public squares called the “Nuit Debout” (Up All Night) to a revival of mass working class action, including general strikes.

France: General strike answers attacks

A general strike rocked France in late May in the latest escalation of protests and workplace actions against the government's attempt to scrap long-standing protections for workers.

The economy ground to a halt as dockworkers in port cities, workers in oil refineries and nuclear power stations, airport and Paris metro workers and many more took action.

Workers took to the streets on May 26 with massive protests. Unions estimated that 300,000 people took part in demonstrations, including railway workers, postal workers, students, low-wage workers, the unemployed and retirees.

France: Workers step up protests against new measures

Truck drivers blocked major roads across France on May 17 while angry workers and students marched through city streets. Demonstrators were protesting against the longer working hours and reduced overtime payments ordered by President Francois Hollande's government.

France: Strikes escalate, power hit


Striking French workers demonstrating in in Marseille on May 26.

Mass strikes and protests continued to rock France on May 26 as trade unionists ramped up their campaign against hated new labour laws.

TTIP trade deal on the ropes, but threat remains real


Protest against TTIP. Hanover, Germany, April 23.

Could things get any worse for the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal between the United States and the European Union?

On May 2, a hugely damaging leak of TTIP texts confirmed exactly what everyone had feared about the deal — with all its hugely pro-corporate provisions on display for everyone to see.

A crucial account of lost voices from the French resistance

Fighters in the Shadow: A New History of the French Resistance
By Robert Gildea
Faber & Faber Press, London
593 pages, 2015

Upon his inauguration on May 16, 2007, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited the Bois de Boulogne in Paris and paid homage to 35 anti-fascist resistance fighters shot by the occupying Nazis in August 1944, just before Paris was liberated.

He also read the last letter of Guy Moquet, a 17-year-old Communist, to his parents on the eve of his execution by the occupiers in 1941 along with 26 other Communist resisters.

France: With Nuit debout, a new mass movement rises


Whoever cares about an issue can stand up, write a corresponding committee name on a sheet of paper, sit on the square and start discussing the subject with others — and just like that a new committee is born.

During the protest on March 31 against France's new labour law, a few protesters handed out leaflets which read Nuit debout (“rising up at night”), echoing Etienne La Boetie's Discourse on Voluntary Servitude: “Tyrants appear great only because we are on our knees”.

France: 'Nuit debout' movement shakes politics

Anyone following French politics in recent years should not be surprised by the recent explosion of public protest and resistance across the country.

For years, France has simmered with a combination of a deeply unpopular government, a limping economy and a struggling, fed up populace.

France: Huge protests erupt against new anti-worker laws

Hundreds of thousands of French workers and students joined a general strike on March 31 against their government's attacks on hard-won workers' rights, Morning Star Online said the next day.

Protests erupted across France against proposed sweeping attacks on workers' rights, shutting down dozens of schools, transportation and the Eiffel Tower.

French police demolish Calais camp; Macedonian police fires tear gas at refugees

French riot police fired tear gas as they began demolishing the Calais “Jungle” refugee camp on February 29, Morning Star Online said.

Tear gas was reportedly used in response to stone-throwers at the shanty town, which is home to about 4000 people. Lines of police vans gathered on the perimeter of the camp's southern section and people were prevented from entering the site.

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