Thousands took to the streets in Paris on Sunday, October 16, to protest price increases. The protests coincided with weeks of wage-related strikes at oil refineries. A general strike has been called for as a result of this.
Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader of the hard-left group La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), marched with Annie Ernaux, the recipient of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. On Tuesday, he declared a countrywide strike.
We are the ones who started it with this march, he reminded the throng, so ‘you’re going to live a week like no other.’
Melenchon joined four other unions in calling for strikes and protests on Tuesday in support of pay rises, but not the largest union in France, the moderate CFDT.
After the government ordered the requisitioning of certain oil refinery workers, the unions also called for demonstrations to defend the right to strike. Unions believe that this action violates their constitutional rights.
The NUPES parliamentary coalition, which wants to put the recent allegations of domestic violence against top members behind them, issued the request for the march.
The budget minister, Gabriel Attal, charged the left-leaning coalition with trying to take advantage of the current circumstance.
On France 1 radio, he declared, ‘Today’s march is a march of supporters who want to block the nation.’