Strikes, protests, clashes and music

Clashes in Paris, lots of fights after a protest on the place de la Concorde (200,000 people in Paris for 1,500,000 in the whole country according to the unions, only one third of those figures according to the Police), a fourth week of strikes in virtually all public services, the UMP (Chirac's party, right-wing) députés in the parliament singing la Marseillaise to cover the communists singing l'Internationale, the project of reform of our retirement system presented by our Prime Minister has entered the political fray today for its first day of debate in the parliament.

I'm afraid Tom might be right, "the fun looks set to begin." Apart that it didn't turn to be fun today, and, as weird as it seems, it could get much worse. It is as if we cannot make changes without making a revolution.


I mentioned in an earlier comment on your site that I thought the strikes and protests would get worse, I just didn't think it would be quite this soon. Let's hope it doesn't continue to escalate. Or maybe "spiral out of control" would be a better description?

Because we have big summer holidays (France is known to literally shut down between July 14th and August 15th), politicians tend to use that timeframe to pass unpopular laws while everybody else is on the beach (also some will say that one has never seen public servants, especially professors, going on strike during their summer holiday). Because of this peculiarity, the unions had planned to bring this particular issue on the "social battlefield" long before the summer, hence the first strikes a month ago. What was special about yesterday is that the reform, by entering the parliament, moved to the political arena. There is a time for social battles and many people are passively supporting the unions. But there is a point, in a democracy, where the politics must debate and decide, and not that many people would accept that the unions prevent the parliament to do so.

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