Inquiring minds are reading “French Unions Stage Mass Protests Against Sarkozy”
Traffic jams in the streets, chaos on the ring motorways that circle Paris, cancelled intercity and commuter trains, erratic connections on the Metro: French trade union calls for mass protests against the pension reforms planned by President Nicolas Sarkozy elicited a powerful response on Tuesday. The Interior Ministry estimated that up to 450,000 demonstrators took part in 114 rallies by midday.
Strikes were also held in schools, post offices and city administrative offices. Many newspapers failed to appear at newsstands, and some public radio and television stations were forced to play pre-recorded music.
The march in Paris began in sunshine at the Place de la Republique and was led by prominent opposition politicians and a number of celebrities.
Proving Alexis de Tocqueville*:
The “Nationwide Day of Action” was aimed at a landmark reform program that Sarkozy hopes will avert a collapse of the pension system and reestablish his leadership after a summer of gaffes, scandals and embarrassments. The opponents of Sarkozy’s pension reform — which, among other things, would raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 — see far more to it that just an intellectual battle over the country’s coming demographic changes. It is also a test of the credibility of the unions and of the president’s power.
*There are two quotes which describe what’s happening:
1) The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.
2) A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.
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