29 mai 2024

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May 1 demonstration: Low mobilization in Paris

International Workers' Day. As usual, many people demonstrated on May 1st. 265 gatherings throughout France.

International Workers’ Day. As usual, many people demonstrated on May 1st. 265 gatherings throughout France.

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated on the occasion of May 1 in France where tensions punctuated some processions, against a backdrop of various demands made by the unions for wages and for peace.

Unlike last year when the unions marched together against pension reform, this year there is no national inter-professional slogan. “We are going to mobilize for wages and denounce the social breakdown, particularly on unemployment insurance,” declared general secretary of the CGT, Sophie Binet.

Tensions erupt at the head of the procession of the Parisian demonstration on May 1 as it approaches the Place de la Bastille. Shortly after leaving Place de la République, a pre-procession of around 4,500 people, with “several hundred” radicals, was formed, according to a police source.

A year after the massive mobilization against pension reform, the demonstrators this time brought diverse demands, ranging from calls for peace in Ukraine or in the Gaza Strip to demands for more social justice in education or health.

But for those used to the Place de la République – Place de la Nation route, this Wednesday’s mobilization may have seemed at least “reduced”. The sound systems may have spit out “We’re not giving up” and other “Motivated”, the demonstrators may have shouted loudly, but the asphalt sometimes seemed sparse for what is usually the big annual meeting of social demands.

Even the situation in Gaza, omnipresent in the Parisian procession, was not enough to fill the ranks. “The question of Palestine has always been present in social demonstrations. But it’s true that today it is central,” said a student amid Palestinian flags on Republic Square. Her friend, however, tempers: “The thing is that the Palestinians’ supporters are already people who usually mobilize for other issues, so they are not extra people in the procession, or quite a few. »

“May 1st serves as a reminder that this is an essential subject. Because unfortunately, it is often put aside even though it is a source of concern for many people,” explains Nicolas. “We are in one of the richest countries in the world and, yet, we continue to suffer from massive precariousness, unemployment… And too many people continue to die at work in complete silence.”

What will happen to all the undocumented workers who worked on the Olympic projects when they are officially over? Especially since police checks will be reinforced as the competition approaches…”, he warns. Coincidence or not, a few steps behind, a collective of undocumented immigrants distributes leaflets to call for more regularization of migrants.
Came to participate in the demonstration to challenge the public authorities on the harmful social consequences of the Paris Olympic Games. “This will have dramatic consequences for the precarious population, for the homeless and the undocumented.”

The union claims the figure of more than 200,000 demonstrators throughout France.

This is less than last year, when the mobilization against pension reform was well beyond a classic May 1st (2.3 million, according to the CGT), but at the same levels as in 2022, when the union counted 210,000 demonstrators.

The unions claimed 50,000 demonstrators this Wednesday in Paris for Labor Day, compared to 18,000 for the police.

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