Thousands Protest in Paris against the Rising Cost of Living
After two weeks of strikes in France, the protest movement at oil refineries is about to spread to other sectors of the economy, with more strike action planned in the coming days.
France's left-wing Nupes alliance has called for a march against inflation and climate change on Sunday, ahead of a public sector general strike planned for Tuesday that could disrupt transport across the country. According to media reports, tens of thousands of people joined the demonstrations on Sunday.
Since last week, strikes by workers in the oil sector have led to disruptions at oil facilities and long queues at petrol stations, particularly in the Paris region and northern France. Although things have not yet returned to normal, despite agreements with some of the leading unions, the movement risks spreading further by continuing to call for strikes in other sectors.
With high inflation following the war in Ukraine, discontent among voters is growing and there are fears that continued industrial action could even lead to a repeat of the "yellow vest" protests. Left-wing parties, which performed strongly in the recent parliamentary elections, hope to spark public opposition to the government over rising electricity and heating bills.
"We are facing a week like no other," Jean-Luc Melenchon, one of the leaders of the leftist Nupes alliance, told a crowd of thousands in Paris on Sunday, AFP reported. "We're all coming together. We're starting it with this march," he said.
"This is not a rally of Mr. Melenchon," he said before the start of the protest, on the France 3 television channel. "This is a march of people who are hungry, who are cold and who want to get better wages ".
Organizers claimed 140,000 people took part in Sunday's march, while authorities put the number at 30,000, according to media reports.
Public sector workers such as teachers, nuclear workers and railway workers are also expected to protest on Tuesday in response to calls from French unions.
In recent days, the government of French President Emmanuel Macron has been working hard to find a solution to resolve oil refinery strikes in an attempt to return things to normal life. Earlier this week, Macron said the conflict must be resolved soon.
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