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FR: Thousands March in Growing French Protests
Reuters on Yahoo ^ | 1/20/05 | Timothy Heritage - Reuters

Posted on 01/20/2005 11:13:06 AM PST by NormsRevenge

PARIS (Reuters) - Some 210,000 public sector workers marched through French cities on Thursday in widening protests over pay, reforms and job cuts that have sent a sharp warning to President Jacques Chirac's conservative government.

On the third day of protests, some schools closed because of a one-day strike by teachers, and a stoppage by air traffic controllers grounded flights at Bordeaux in western France.

The protests followed a warning strike by rail workers that severely disrupted rail traffic across France on Wednesday and protests by energy and postal workers earlier this week.

Unions said 50,000 had joined a protest march that snaked noisily through Paris, though police put the number at 20,000.

"I'm protesting against the quasi-reforms the government is carrying out. They're killing the public services. It has to stop. Soon there'll be nothing left," said Lionel Reinisch, 35, a civil servant from the Paris suburb of Creteil.

Nationally, police said some 210,000 had taken part in protests, more than the 203,700 claimed by the CGT union.

Elisabeth David, head of the Unsa trade union that represents public sector workers, hailed the turnout: "This day is a success that has gone beyond our expectations."

The government has vowed to press on with economic reforms. But it fears a failure to address the strikers' concerns could prompt voters to punish it by opposing the European Union (news - web sites) constitution in a referendum expected before July.

Chirac showed his concern by urging deputies from his ruling conservative party on Wednesday to make sure the referendum does not turn into a vote on domestic policies.

PRESSURE ON RAFFARIN

The strikes, provoked by discontent on issues that vary from sector to sector, have increased pressure on Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

He has played down any parallels with street protests that are widely seen as causing the downfall of the last conservative government in 1997, and took a tough line in comments to reporters.

"The strike is an element of social dialogue. What is not acceptable is when the strike becomes a blockage," he said. "Anyone responsible for the breakdown of dialogue must expect to be treated with the necessary firmness."

France's economy, the second biggest in the euro zone, has hit a soft patch but the government is aiming for 2.5 percent growth in 2005 and aims to cut unemployment this year from 9.9 percent to about 9.0 percent.

Many workers are demanding pay rises which the government can ill afford to meet as it tries to limit public spending and keep the budget deficit to within limits set by the EU.

Some workers oppose reforms and many reject planned changes to the law governing the 35-hour working week which the government says will make it more flexible and make French industry more competitive.

Many ordinary people simply feel their purchasing power has receded because pay rises have not kept pace with inflation.

"Many average employees who yesterday seemed to be in a stable and even enviable situation ... no longer have that," said Francois Bayrou, head of the center-right UDF party.

He said France faced a "very deep social malaise."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: chirac; eurabia; eurotrash; french; growing; march; protests; raffarin; socialists; thousands
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1 posted on 01/20/2005 11:13:06 AM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

When will the world wake up? Socialism does not work, never has.


2 posted on 01/20/2005 11:15:29 AM PST by vpintheak (Liberal = The antithesis of Freedom and Patriotism)
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To: NormsRevenge

THEY VOTED THEMSELVES A SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT!! TOO BAD


3 posted on 01/20/2005 11:16:49 AM PST by Mr. K (all your tagline are belong to us)
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To: NormsRevenge
He said France faced a "very deep social malaise."

Where is Jimuh Carter?

4 posted on 01/20/2005 11:17:22 AM PST by CzarNicky (The problem with bad ideas is that they seemed like good ideas at the time.)
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To: NormsRevenge
They're going to protest a lot more than that when the Muslim majority establishes the shariah as French national law--at least, that is, so long as they can protest.
5 posted on 01/20/2005 11:17:41 AM PST by Savage Beast (The internet is the newspaper of record.)
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To: NormsRevenge
President Jacques Chirac's conservative government.

Now that is an oxymoron. To the european press, anyone right of Marx is conservative.

But it fears a failure to address the strikers' concerns could prompt voters to punish it by opposing the European Union (news - web sites) constitution in a referendum expected before July.

Funny how unions and socialist want to be a part of the EU - there will be no way to get rid of them after incorporation...

6 posted on 01/20/2005 11:18:10 AM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Roll out the guillotine!


7 posted on 01/20/2005 11:18:56 AM PST by schaketo (http://www.gp.org/ Convince progressives to join the Green Party – Divide and conquer)
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To: NormsRevenge
France ... aims to cut unemployment this year from 9.9 percent to about 9.0 percent.

What a great system.

8 posted on 01/20/2005 11:19:36 AM PST by mountaineer
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To: NormsRevenge

"...President Jacques Chirac's conservative government."

I'd hate to see what would be considered a liberal government in France.


9 posted on 01/20/2005 11:19:42 AM PST by MadAnthony1776 ("liberalism" = "do as I say, not as I do")
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To: Mr. K

"President Jacques Chirac's conservative government."

??????????????????? He has a conservative government?


10 posted on 01/20/2005 11:20:00 AM PST by Jay777 (Never met a wise man, if so it's a woman. Kurt Cobain)
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To: NormsRevenge
Some 210,000 public sector workers marched through French cities on Thursday in widening protests over pay, reforms and job cuts that have sent a sharp warning to President Jacques Chirac's conservative government

----------------------------------------


11 posted on 01/20/2005 11:20:02 AM PST by Area51
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To: Area51

There that is a conservative government, sad but true.


12 posted on 01/20/2005 11:21:31 AM PST by TXBSAFH (Never underestimate the power of human stupidity--Robert Heinlein)
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To: NormsRevenge

"...President Jacques Chirac's conservative government."

Chirac is a conservative? Wonder what a liberal is in France, Josef Stalin?


13 posted on 01/20/2005 11:21:43 AM PST by MisterRepublican ("I must go. I must be elusive.")
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To: NormsRevenge
Elisabeth David, head of the Unsa trade union that represents public sector workers, hailed the turnout: "This day is a success that has gone beyond our expectations."

Let's see. They have crippled the entire economy and all public services. They don't have their raises, and aren't likely to get them.

So...... how is that a success?

They are striking because they don't want changes (35 workhours per week), but they do want changes in PAY.

MORE MONEY, LESS WORK!

Yep, I am sure they will be getting their demands REAL SOON. Good LUCK FROGS!!!!!!

14 posted on 01/20/2005 11:22:10 AM PST by UCANSEE2
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To: MisterRepublican

The french are a very confused population. Ain't nuttin' more confused than a french commie!


15 posted on 01/20/2005 11:23:04 AM PST by 68 grunt (3/1 India, 3rd, 68-69, 0311)
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To: MisterRepublican
Chirac is a conservative? Wonder what a liberal is in France, Josef Stalin?

That's about the size of it. By French standards, Chirac is on the right.

16 posted on 01/20/2005 11:23:09 AM PST by squidly (I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosity he excites among his opponents)
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To: CzarNicky
"very deep social malaise."

Maybe what the author meant was the frogs were in "very deep social mayonaise."

17 posted on 01/20/2005 11:23:42 AM PST by NoClones
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To: NormsRevenge
Well you know the French. Thy are all way bitching about something.

The french are so poor that don't have a common language. All they have is that stupid accent.

18 posted on 01/20/2005 11:25:19 AM PST by oyez (¡Qué viva la revolución de Reagan!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Looks like it's time for another one of those french revolution thingies.


19 posted on 01/20/2005 11:27:41 AM PST by RobRoy (Science is about "how." Christianity is about "why.")
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To: NormsRevenge

Bush's fault!


20 posted on 01/20/2005 11:27:57 AM PST by angkor
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To: mountaineer

I know, they will do what Germany did to cut unemployment. Reduce the number of hours per week you can legally work. Thats the ticket France!


21 posted on 01/20/2005 11:28:59 AM PST by Holicheese (The Red Hat makes great mudslides)
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: vpintheak

This is just the beginning. The Frogs will be killing each other before it's all over.


23 posted on 01/20/2005 11:30:40 AM PST by John Lenin
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To: RobRoy
Looks like it's time for another one of those french revolution thingies.


24 posted on 01/20/2005 11:31:00 AM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ...... The War on Terrorism is the ultimate 'faith-based' initiative.)
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To: NormsRevenge

LOL, socialist workers bringing the economy to its knees.


25 posted on 01/20/2005 11:32:24 AM PST by 1Old Pro
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To: NormsRevenge

I think this is so funny.. the Democrats couldn't even get 1000 people to protest Bush's inaguration.. and France is falling apart at the seams..


26 posted on 01/20/2005 11:33:02 AM PST by Captal de Buch
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To: NormsRevenge
Some 210,000 public sector workers marched through French cities on Thursday in widening protests over pay, reforms and job cuts that have sent a sharp warning to President Jacques Chirac's conservative government

Arrrghghhhh... I know its all 'relative' but it drives me nuts when Chirac is called 'a conservative'
27 posted on 01/20/2005 11:34:49 AM PST by FreedomNeocon (2)
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To: Mr. K
THEY VOTED THEMSELVES A SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT!! TOO BAD

It's not they had much of a choice.

28 posted on 01/20/2005 11:36:43 AM PST by You Dirty Rats (Mindless BushBot)
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To: FreedomNeocon

And Hitler was a right winger. The right wing in Europe is equivalent to Communist Party USA party here.


29 posted on 01/20/2005 11:37:23 AM PST by John Lenin
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To: NormsRevenge; dighton; aculeus; general_re; L,TOWM; Constitution Day; hellinahandcart; Poohbah; ...
Bring out "The French Razor" ..


30 posted on 01/20/2005 11:37:25 AM PST by BlueLancer (Der Elite Møøsënspåånkængrüppen ØberKømmändø (EMØØK))
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To: 2banana
Now that is an oxymoron. To the european press, anyone right of Marx is conservative.

Chirac is from the Conservative Party, because his party is relatively more into free-market. Although, for Americans, of course, he's more like CINO... The liberal there is the Socialist Party, which, no kidding, is socialist.

31 posted on 01/20/2005 11:42:15 AM PST by paudio (Darn... how come the MSM doesn't have the "Report Abuse" button?)
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To: MadAnthony1776
I'd hate to see what would be considered a liberal government in France

In Europe the terms Conservative and Liberal are the exact opposite of here...Causes a bit of confusion on this side of the pond. Chirac's conservatives are made up of communists and socialists. ...
32 posted on 01/20/2005 11:45:05 AM PST by mugs99 (Restore the Constitution)
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To: Jay777

By their standards, yes.

He won because the left fragmented in the last election - he ended up running against the even more right-wing Le Pen.

"Right" in France is not the same thing as a US conservative.


33 posted on 01/20/2005 11:45:55 AM PST by buwaya
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To: paudio

The liberal there - equivalent to the the US Democrat Cuomo/Kennedy wing - is in fact Trotskyist.


34 posted on 01/20/2005 11:47:50 AM PST by buwaya
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To: 68 grunt

Hee Hee!
"France's economy, the second biggest in the euro zone, has hit a soft patch but the government is aiming for 2.5 percent growth in 2005 and aims to cut unemployment this year from 9.9 percent to about 9.0 percent."

Didn't I read just last week the French Gov't wants
workers to spend more time on the job? They now have
a 35 hour work week, which suits the populace. Chirac
wants them to work a 40 hour week. Any connection to
that statement last week and this week's protests? Only
the dull of mind could simultaneously demand shorter hours and more public services!


35 posted on 01/20/2005 11:50:42 AM PST by Grendel9
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To: mugs99

Not quite.

US free market conservatives are "Liberals" there, who barely exist.

Chirac's conservatives aren't communists or socialists, but old style European "dirigistes" - the institutional heirs of Louis XIV's centralizing ministers, or Bismarck for that matter.

Communists and Socialists are a whole other animal.


36 posted on 01/20/2005 11:50:50 AM PST by buwaya
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To: UCANSEE2

Maggie Thatcher broke Britain of that sort of thing, with an incredible effort, and she has been hated ever since.

Britain was lucky - God gave them a heroine when they needed one.

The French are going to have a harder time. No heros on the horizon, I think.


37 posted on 01/20/2005 11:55:06 AM PST by buwaya
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Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

To: buwaya
"dirigistes"

LOL...I like that! Thanks. My reply was colored by a debate I had with a Canadian living in France. According to him, the socialists are Christian and the communists are secular, but both are conservatives. ...
39 posted on 01/20/2005 11:57:21 AM PST by mugs99 (Restore the Constitution)
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To: NormsRevenge

If they are reporting a 10% unemployment, I bet the real number is aleast half again as much.


40 posted on 01/20/2005 11:57:23 AM PST by razorback-bert
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

To: TonyRo76

Precisely. The more colloquial and modern term there would be "Enarques", the graduates of the "National College of Administration", the elite bureaucrat training school.


42 posted on 01/20/2005 12:00:45 PM PST by buwaya
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To: NormsRevenge
France's economy, the second biggest in the euro zone, has hit a soft patch but the government is aiming for 2.5 percent growth in 2005 and aims to cut unemployment this year from 9.9 percent to about 9.0 percent.

It reads like a press release from the prime minister's office, full of euphemisms and optimism.

43 posted on 01/20/2005 12:01:29 PM PST by george wythe
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To: buwaya
US free market conservatives are "Liberals" there, who barely exist.

Chirac's conservatives aren't communists or socialists, but old style European "dirigistes" - the institutional heirs of Louis XIV's centralizing ministers, or Bismarck for that matter.

Correct. The same applies in Latin American, where the free-market proponents are derided as "neoliberals." People who share our ideologies are definitely a minority outside the US.
44 posted on 01/20/2005 12:06:07 PM PST by george wythe
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To: 2banana

The sad thing is that Chiraq is a conservative by French standards.


45 posted on 01/20/2005 12:10:33 PM PST by bobjam
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To: george wythe

Thats right. Spain and Latin America both drew from the same centralizing roots as France (note how Spain began running the Latin American trade via an official trading cartel way back in the sixteenth century), and moreover had a stiff dose of the genuine French style through the Bourbon monarchy.

Its obvious to me that people have a limited ability to transcend their cultural roots. The US, a frontier society with no strong central authority, was able to create a new thing under the sun. Its been a genuine struggle for other peoples with incompatible cultural baggage to copy the US, even where the sense of reform is inescapable.


46 posted on 01/20/2005 12:13:52 PM PST by buwaya
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To: mugs99

French socialists aren't Christian at all in my experience. They are certainly not religious. They just don't have an official atheist ideology, like the Communists do.

They are most certainly conservatives in one sense, today. They don't want the status quo changed.


47 posted on 01/20/2005 12:16:17 PM PST by buwaya
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To: MadAnthony1776

Mitterand.

France's economy was in fairly good shape, indeed it was a power, before Mitterand came in and socialized the living hell out of it.

you wouldn't believe the vic an employer must pay into the welfare system for every franc/euro/whatever paid to the employee.

Are you ready?

Almost 100%

There is a reason unemployment is so damned high in France.


48 posted on 01/20/2005 12:17:08 PM PST by King Prout (trolls survive through a form of gastroenterotic oroborosity, a brownian "perpepetual movement")
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Comment #49 Removed by Moderator

To: NormsRevenge

Makes sense.

Government workers are striking to protest the government cutting programs.


50 posted on 01/20/2005 12:19:41 PM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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