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French press review 26 May 2018


French unions promise day of rage on Saturday against President Macron's policies.

The commentators all look forward to a massive turnout in the streets of Paris and around the country this Saturday. This is, as the staunchest of President Emmanuel Macron's opponents vent their anger against his so-called revamp the French society.

Le Parisien says it expects tens of thousands of protesters to attend the "great Macron party" organised across 80 cities by some 60 trade unions, political parties and associations.


According to L'Humanité it promises to be a popular tidal wave complete with workers, students, unionists and railway workers. The Communist newspaper urges them to hit very hard in order to force Macron to hear their message.

"Purchasing power: that's what the French want" headlines today's Le Parisien in a headline which is bound to be interpreted as an appeal to get the people out.

Le Républicain Lorrain claims that protest call is motivated by a catalogue of grievances with which every French citizen identifies with -- consumers against austerity, women against sexism, freshmen against the government's new selection rules for admission into the university and workers against the rolling back of social rights.

According to La Voix du Nord, France Unbowed party party leader Jean-Luc Melenchon deserves being credited for the successful mobilisation for today's protest and for the crystallisation of social anger by leftist forces against the government's so-called "new utopia".

For Libération says it's mind bogging to see Mélenchon and his party become the rallying point for progressive forces obviously shedding a tear over the Socialist party's disappearance from the radar screens.

It's worth noting that the Parti Socialiste of newly elected First Secretary Olivier Faure is not taking part in today's anti-government protests. Libé regrets that it is only Melenchon who now has the ability to speak with authority about the values of the left.

But it is quick to underline that they Mélenchon doesn't have the mandate to represent the various political groupings struggling to be heard under a progressive playing field


Le Figaro reacts angrily to the French government's decision to take on 35 billion euros of the SNCF’s debts standing at 47 billion euros. The conservative daily says the offer made by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe during talks with the unions on Friday, appeared to improve the chances of ending the rolling strikes staged by the company's workers for nearly two months.

Absorbing the debt has been one of the unions’ key demands.

"That's a huge amount of tax-payers’ money they are about take out from the public treasury to rescue the SNCF from a financial disaster", observes Le Figaro. The publication claims that the offer surely puts the unions in front of their responsibilities. According to Le Figaro, they will have no choice but to accept it to make the state-owned rail transporter more competitive.

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