Tuesday, 7 September 2010

France: millions protest against neoliberals

MILLIONS of people took to the streets of France on Tuesday to oppose the neoliberal attack on the retirement age being carried out by unpopular president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Reports Sky News: "The public sector walkout brought much of the country to a standstill, with transport, schools, hospitals and postal services affected.

"The French Interior Ministry said more than 1.1 million people took part in the demonstrations to mark the strike, but the CFDT union put the figure much higher at 2.5 million.

"Marches took place in 220 locations across France.

"President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to raise the age of retirement from 60 to 62.

"He says the measures are necessary if France is to combat its rising budget deficit. The new legislation is being discussed in parliament.

"But outside, on streets across the country, there were angry demonstrations. The unions are furious.

"They claim Mr Sarkozy governs only in the interest of the rich and that the ruling elite should pay for the financial crisis - not rank and file workers.

"They say they have the people on their side and the President is now facing a 'perfect storm' of protest.

"Mr Sarkozy's approval ratings have continued to fall across the summer. His government has been badly damaged by a corruption scandal involving France's richest woman Lillian Bettencourt - the L'Oreal heiress.

"The man at the centre of the imbroglio is also the labour minister, Eric Woerth. He, as it happens, is responsible for driving through the pension reforms."