Saturday, October 23, 2010
Sarko's "La racaille" seems to be the whole country
I have lived in France, including during strikes and demonstrations, but I have never seen anything like this. I wasn't around for mai '68, the famous student and workers revolt, nor for the riots in the suburbs in 2004, which then Minister of the Interior Nicholas Sarkozy dismissed by calling the French of Maghrebi Arab and African descent "la racaille" [trash].
It seems now as if all of France would merit that epithet if it were applied to those rioting against President Sarkozy's proposals--most recently changing pension law and raising the age of retirement from 60 to 62. In the face of riots and protests crippling the country, Sarko has suspended discussion of the new law in the Senate and pushed forward a vote, which has now passed the Senate, and is expected to pass at the other parliamentary levels.
Below are some photos and commentary on the recent events, from France on Strike. I have reorganized them by locale. My "2 sous": unlike these events, strikes in France tend to be short, and demonstrations focused in Paris; unions are connected to specific political parties-for example, communist, socialist, liberal-as much or more than to types of workers; students, including high school students, are much more involved in workers' strikes than they are in North America; nurses are part of the civil service and at the bottom levels; rioting is unusual, and it seems Sarkozy's responses have provoked people further.
A Marseille; A Nice:
A Bordeaux; A Nantes; A L'Est; Au Nord:
Your comments, thoughts, impressions, experiences?