Mass Protests in Paris Over Inflation, Climate, Wages

Three weeks into a refinery strike that caused fuel shortages across France, anger about inflation led tens of thousands of protesters to take to the streets of Paris on Sunday to express their frustration with the rising cost of living, climate change, and the government of Pres. Macron.

Mass Protests in Paris Over Inflation, Climate, Wages
Image credit: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

Facts

  • Three weeks into a refinery strike that caused fuel shortages across France, anger about inflation led tens of thousands of protesters to take to the streets of Paris on Sunday to express their frustration with the rising cost of living, climate change, and the government of Pres. Macron.
  • The protest organizers described the protest as a "march against the high cost of living and climate inaction." The group urged deeper investment in climate issues, emergency steps to combat inflation - including freezes in the price of energy, basic goods, and rent - and greater taxation of energy companies' massive profits.
  • The left-wing political opposition led by the head of the France Unbowed party, Jean-Luc Melenchon, called for a general strike on Tuesday, which has already been declared a national day of strikes by French unions targeting roads, railways, and the public sector.
  • Police predicted around 30K people would attend the protest. The organizers said 140K people participated in the march on Sunday, but no official figures have yet been released.
  • Sunday's Paris march began at the Place de la Nation and ended at the Place de la Bastille. Political pundits cited the resemblance to a classic French leftist protest, including red-colored flags, antifascist slogans, and booths with revolutionary literature.
  • Marching with Melenchon was French author Annie Ernaux - this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Sources: Al Jazeera, NPR Online News, France24, Voa, New York Times, and Time.

Narratives

  • Left narrative, as provided by Politico. Discontent is rising among French voters amid high inflation and the war in Ukraine. Sunday's march in Paris was a protest of people who are hungry, cold, worried about the environment, and want better pay. The general strike on Tuesday will hopefully whip up public opposition to pressure the government over these pressing issues.
  • Right narrative, as provided by Le Monde. French oil refineries have been shut down by striking, causing severe fuel shortages all over the country. The French government is hoping the general strike called for Tuesday will not spread to other sectors. If the left's irresponsible behavior leads to further chaos, the government might again have to use its requisition powers to force workers back to their posts.