Saturday, November 19, 2005

Today, a number of French unions and left-wing parties marched in Paris in order to support public services, which they feel are threatened by the current government. Those who demonstrated (unionists, politicians and simple employees) are opposed to the privatization of public companies such as the electrical and gas utility EDF, or to the scaling down of public services such as the national public postal service in rural areas.

Organizers claim 30,000 protested, as opposed to the 10,000 figure cited by the police. The march was peaceful and uneventful, with a light police escort to open the streets, and City of Paris sanitation vehicles coming just behind to clean the streets of leaflets and other litter. Many of the protesters were under the banners the Communist-influenced CGT union, most others under those of major confederations or parties such as the French Communist Party. A small minority were from radical groups such as the anarcho-syndicalist CNT or Les Alternatifs. A group of French scientific researchers and graduate students protested the government’s policies with respect to research funding.

Among the personalities who marched are politicians Marie-George Buffet (French Communist Party), George Sarre (MRC) and Olivier Besancenot (Revolutionary Communist League), and unionists Bernard Thibault (CGT), Annick Coupé (Solidaires) and Gérard Aschiéri (FSU).

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