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French unions stage day of strikes at Macron policies

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 19, 2019 - Duration: 01:51s

French unions stage day of strikes at Macron policies

French unions took to the streets on Tuesday to protest against President Macron's economic policies.

As Francis Maguire reports, the demonstrations ramp up pressure on Macron who is also dealing after 'yellow vest' protests turned violent at the weekend.

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French unions stage day of strikes at Macron policies

Several French trade unions march through Paris on Tuesday, As public sector workers went on strike - calling for better pay, retirement protection and more.

The Confederation of Labour - or the CGT - a trade union with around 700,000 members, Were joined by other unions in the demonstrations, Aiming to put pressure on President Macron, As he plans to offer new policies to calm a separate set of protesters - the 'yellow vests'.

Who have demonstrated against Macron's policies since November last year.

Protests at the weekend turned violent, With shops and cafes torched on the Champs-Elysee.

This led to new measures to contain the violence.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: "So to be precise, we're giving ourselves the power to apply a ban in certain zones so yes, next Saturday on the Champs Elysees, as in other town centres which have been particularly hard hit by this crisis will be closed to any public gathering." The anti-government protests were first sparked by a fuel tax hike and high cost of living, It forced Macron into a so-called 'grand debate', A listening exercise across the country where the people told the government what policies they should focus on.

But the protests have often turned violent, With shops and kiosks sometimes burnt along the Champs-Elysee.

It's a side to the demonstrations the government strongly condemns.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRIME MINISTER, EDOUARD PHILIPPE, SAYING: "They're not protesters, they're rioters gathering in 'black blocs' with the sole intention of stealing, starting fires, causing destruction and injury.

And by starting fires they even took the risk of causing deaths.

Acts such as these are crimes and the government's response must be strong." The French government says 'yellow vest' protests have caused at least 170 million euros damage so far.

And that's not even counting the most recent weekend.

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