Work Act; No Thank you!
This has been the slogan of the social movement that is picking up a great momentum in Paris and in all other parts of France as an opposition to the reforms made to the Labour law. Under these reforms, regulations are tweaked to make it easier for companies, which are struggling, to hire and fire its employees and also to cut down on the overtime wages. In an economy where unemployment rates remain at a high level of 10%, what was previously a silent discontent is now turning into a driving force for a growing number of protests and demonstrations across the country. This could also possibly hint at a much more widespread dissatisfaction of the French people towards President Hollande's leadership.
Many of the protestors that I had spoken to claimed that they did vote for President Hollande 4 years ago because of his socialist backgrounds and proposals. However, they were soon to be disappointed when he abandoned the leftist ideals and pushed through reforms that many argue are seen as inclined to the right wing instead.
For a long while now that I have been living in Paris, I noticed how the income disparity is extremely visible in the French society. While class discrimination is already deeply ingrained, I still wondered to myself where are exactly the middle class all this while. To me, it felt like the middle class was a sleeping giant only to be awakened by these reforms that could potentially threaten their livelihoods and future.
Under the slogan 'LOI TRAVAIL; NON MERCI!', thousands have taken to the streets all across France to show their opposition to the new Work Act. And unfortunately, many of these protests had also resulted in violence between the French Riot Police Force, CRS and Gendarmerie.
While many had taken to the streets to express their opposition, there were thousands more who had begun another movement to occupy all the squares throughout France. Under the banner of Nuit Debout, it was estimated that there has already been more than ten thousand people who have attended these relatively more peaceful sit-in protests in Paris alone. Throughout the ongoing occupation, the people of France conducts their own General Assembly to debate on how to effectively voice out their opinions against the government and discuss on the new world that would like to live in.
Everyone who wishes to speak up, may do so infront of a vast audience coming from all kinds of backgrounds. To call it a revolution of the people may not even do this movement any justice. It was more of a creation; the creation of a newer and better society for everyone.
Nuit Debout continues its occupation as of the time of this writing.
While my effort to document these challenging times for the French people continues on, I only attempt in doing so without sharing any personal biases and opinions with them. These documentation is being made from the eyes of an outsider and as such, should only serve as a reflection of the wider condition of the French society in present day.