Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/01 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/01 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/01 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/01 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/01 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/01 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/01 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/01 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/01 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/01 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 10/01 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 09/30 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 10/01 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 09/30 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/01 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/01 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 10/01 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 09/30 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 10/01 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/01 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 10/01 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
France

French unions hold rival May Day marches, far right hails Joan of Arc

media Demonstrators take part in the French unions' traditional May Day march Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Two major groupings of French unions staged separate marches in Paris and around the country on Thursday, one criticising the Socialist government's economic policies, the other looking towards this month's European elections.

One of the country's two largest union federations, the CGT, was joined by smaller groupings in demonstrating opposition to the government's plans to seek 50 billion euros in spending cuts to finance tax breaks for businesses, which were approved in parliament this week.

Ahead of a march that was to start at the Place de la Bastille in Paris, CGT general secretary Thierry Lepaon said the government was more concerned about "saving 50 billion euros [than] in work and workers".

Lepaon hoped to pressure the government to use a meeting with business leaders and unions scheduled for July to focus on "the concerns of French people: salaries, jobs and  financing social protection".

What is May Day?

For the second year in a row, the CGT and its allies will not be joined by the other big French union federation, the CFDT, even though they marched together during the years of right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency.

Since the Socialists came to power in 2012, the two groupings have failed to find common ground on workplace and pension reforms and on the current cuts plan.

"We have no common objectives," CFDT general secretary Laurent Berger said on 18 April, adding that the CFDT and the CGT practiced "two kinds of unionism".

Instead the CFDT, along with one smaller union and guests from Belgian and Spanish unions, demonstrated for "Europe, jobs, social progress" in northern Paris, declaring that they hope to counter "populisms and the far right".

Also taking on a European theme was the far-right, anti-European Front National (FN), which held its own 1 May march in tribute of 15th-century Catholic Saint Joan of Arc, whom it considers a patriotic warrior symbolising its own values.

Seeking to capitalise on the results of last month's nationwide local elections that saw seven FN members become mayors, the party promised a "historic" show of force.

"We're in the process of losing our freedom, our security and our prosperity," said FN president Marine Le Pen. "We have to take them back and that will happen on 25 May, during the European elections."

On the sidelines of that march, small groups of anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstrators held a vigil in memory of a Moroccan immigrant who was thrown into the Seine river by three far-right demonstrators who had taken part in the Front National march of 1 May 1995.

Brahim Bouarram, a 29-year-old father of two children, was thrown from a bridge and, not knowing how to swim, drowned in the river.

May also interest you: No, it's not illegal to work after 6pm in France

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.