Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sarko's "La racaille" seems to be the whole country

A view of the French Senate, in Paris, Friday, Oct. 22, 2010. The French Senate prepared to vote on a pension reform, after the government short-circuited a protracted debate. The Senate is near certain to approve the measure, which raises the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 later Friday, despite months of strikes and protests. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

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 Paris:

A man holds a placard which reads "Listen to the public's rage" during a demonstration in front of the French Senate in Paris October 20, 2010. French trade unions kept up their resistance on Wednesday to an unpopular pension reform due for a final vote in the Senate this week. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

Demonstrators gather around a puppet symbolizing the French Republic during a protest in Paris, Tuesday Oct.19, 2010. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Workers demonstrate in front of the Senate on October 20, 2010 in Paris, France. President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to raise the retirement age to 62 has prompted Oil workers to protest crippling the transport system and triggering gas shortages. Students are also attending demonstrations and have in some cases barricaded entrances to schools. (Franck Prevel/Getty Images)

People demonstrate on October 12, 2010 in Paris, to protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to up the retirement age to 62. (FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Passengers wait for a train on a platform at the Gare du Nord railway station in Paris October 19, 2010 during a nationwide strike by public sector workers to protest against pension reform. Airport staff, bus and train drivers, postal workers and the armored truck drivers who keep cash machines stocked up could join refinery workers and others in a day of nationwide strikes against the plan to raise the retirement age. (REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes)

Passengers walk on the highway as French striking workers block the Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Roissy near Paris October 20, 2010. (REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes)

French police secure an entrance at Orly airport, south of Paris, as striking airport workers blocked the access to roads October 20, 2010. (REUTERS/Guillaume Bertrand)

Striking workers clash with police as they block the Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy near Paris October 20, 2010. (REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes)

High school students shout during a demonstration against retirement reforms in Paris, Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

French high school students kiss on the road in front of the police at the end of a demonstration over pension reform in Paris October 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes)

Plainclothes police officers, right, try to detain a youth during a protest in Paris, Thursday Oct. 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A nurse denounces the anticipated 67-year-old age for retirement during a workers and students demonstration ending at Place de la Bastille on October 12, 2010 in Paris, as part of a nationwide action to protest against the government reform bill on pensions. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

French high school students, with the message "No to the reform", attend a demonstration over pension reform on October 21, 2010 in Paris, France. (Franck Prevel/Getty Images)

A woman holds a sign as she demonstrates during a National Union-Led protest against retirement reform on October 16, 2010 in Paris, France. On the sign, an old woman says "When I was your age, I was already working", and a girl replies "When I am your age I'll still be working." (Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images)

French high school students block the entrance of the Dorian high school in Paris October 15, 2010. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

A French high school student faces riot gendarmes during a student demonstration at the Place de la Republique in Paris October 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes)

A fireman tries to extinguish a burning car during riots in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, on October 20, 2010. (Franck Prevel/Getty Images)

Students vote during a students' general assembly, to extend the closure of Na[n]terre's university, near Paris, to protest the government retirement reforms, Friday, Oct. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

French gendarmes charge to unblock the entrance of the Grandpuits oil refinery southeast of Paris October 22, 2010 as striking workers unsuccessfully attempted to continue their blockade. (REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)

A Lyon:

Youths scramble outside a looted store during clashes with police forces in Lyon, central France, Wednesday Oct. 20, 2010. France's interior minister threatened Wednesday to send in paramilitary police to stop rioting on the fringes of protests. Months of largely peaceful demonstrations against the pension reform have taken a violent turn in recent days. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

A gendarme helicopter circles overhead at low altitude during clashes between youths and police forces in Lyon, central France, Wednesday Oct. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

French police take position during clashes with youths after a demonstration over pension reform in Lyon, October 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Robert Pratta)

Youths overturn a car in a street in Lyon, central France, Thursday Oct.21, 2010. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

Riot police officers detain a youth during clashes in Lyon, central France, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

A child holds a banner on the shoulders of a man during a demonstration in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

French Youth run from riot police forces during clashes on October 20, 2010 on the sideline of anti pensions reform protests in Lyon. (PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)

A tear gas canister explodes near hooded youths during a confrontation with French police at a demonstration against pension reform in Lyon October 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

Riot police officers detain a youth during a student demonstration in Lyon, central France, Monday, Oct.18, 2010. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

A Marseille; A Nice:

Aerial view of Tankers and other vessels waiting off shore near Marseille's port in Martigues on October 17, 2010, where two oil terminals are blocked by strike action. (ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)

Arcelor Mittal steel workers dressed in protective work suit demonstrate over pension reforms in Marseille October 12, 2010. (REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier)

High school students shout slogans as striking railway workers burn railway tracks during a demonstration at the old port of Marseille October 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier)

Civil security members requisitioned by the French government clean the streets and pile up garbage in Marseille October 20, 2010 on the ninth day of a strike by rubbish collectors. (REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier)

People block the access to the Nice airport on October 19, 2010, as they demonstrate during the sixth day of coordinated nationwide protests. (VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

A demonstrator holds a flare aloft as private and public sector workers demonstrate over pension reforms in Nice October 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

A Bordeaux; A Nantes; A L'Est; Au Nord:

Oil trucks leave an oil depot escorted by french riot police in Bassens, near Bordeaux, southwestern France,Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

A truck driver walks past a line of lorries as he waits outside a fuel depot of the society SFDM near the oil refinery of Donges, near Nantes, October 22, 2010. (REUTERS/Stephane Mahe)

A woman walks past a message written on a road saying "Tous en greve" (everybody on strike) as part of the demonstrations by railway workers from state-run company SNCF during the nationwide day of protest against pension reform on October 13, 2010 in Chenove, eastern France. (JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)

Riot policemen push demonstrators who blocked the fuel storage depot of Douchy-Les-Mines, northern France, to protest against French government pensions reform on October 19, 2010. (FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP/Getty Images)


Your comments, thoughts, impressions, experiences?

5 comments:

countrygirl said...

I would like to ask to all these people against the reform ok you want to retire at 60 but with which money will be paid...sadly it doesn't grows up trees. In Italy and France the employee have tons of privilege: 6 weeks of paid vacation, you can retire at 60 (for the moment) and so on but I'm wonderign since you live longer you someone will have to pay for the pensions and since in Italy, France less children are born every day the burden of paying all those pension will be on the shoulders of the same high school students who are protesting right now.

I
You have all the rights to protest but even if you are protesting for something noble (eg against racism) you are wrong if you start destroying things. The owners of cars will have to spend money for your stupidity

Majed said...

I can't see France and the other European countries have any alternatives other than being frugal.

France has at present 15 million pensioners about 25% of the population and 700000 added every year and already the pension of 1.5 million of the them is financed by debts, poor Sarko who told him to be the president.

The French have so far led a very good life sucking on black african breasts, but now africa has got new babies to feed the chinese and the Americans,France is a week baby now , and only the fittests survive.

Eventually people of France will understand that and accept the reforms, but the goverment, could have sweetened the pill for easier swallow by prior intensive awareness.

Susanne said...

How evenly representative is their Senate and other parliamentary levels? Are most of them from Sarkozy's party and thus why he is able to push this through with no discussion?

Interesting pictures. I do feel sorry for future generations who are saddled with paying for the ridiculous excesses of their parents' and grandparents' generations. Not only in France....really, I speak mostly of here in the US since I don't know the politics of France. I do hear they have very generous work hours/weeks and vacation times. Maybe they are like the Greeks and work too little and play too much. I recall Germany being angry at Greece because the hardworking Germans essentially had to bail them out a few months ago.

oby said...

Having lived in France for awhile, I have found that it seems they are griping about one thing or another.Not bad people but always seem to be bitchin' about something. They have cradle to grave benefits, incredible vacation among other benefits. Americans would die for the kind of benefits they enjoy. I think I read somewhere that Americans don't even take all the vacation time they are alloted which I think on average is two weeks. The French have like, 6 weeks right? Who needs to retire that early when you are that rested? LOL!

Seriously...who is going to pay for the benefits that they receive? Right now we pay social security and I know we will never see any of those benefits. It will be insolvent when we get there. So we are kicking in to social security to pay for people we have to take care of now while saving for our own future retirement. In effect we pay twice. And Americans are not rioting.

Can anyone spell E-N-T-I-T-L-E-D?

jaraad said...

My friend came from France last week. He told me the taxi to the airport had to take another route because he heard that people were trowing stones at passing cars.
The world is ruined financially and it seems it will take years before we recover.
By the way, I saw your name added to toot's list (http://blog.itoot.net/archives/new-blogs-added-to-toot-2) but didn't see your URL or your new post in their website. Welcome to toot community :)

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