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    France's Snowballing Discontent: Ambulances Block Assembly. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 December 2018

Macron's admistration support for a bill which sources paramedic services to private firms sparked anger amongst workers who planted themselves at the national assembly in protest.

On Monday, paramedics parked in front of the French national assembly to denounce what they call the ‘uberization’ of their trade and to protest changes in working conditions, implemented by president Emanuel Macron’s administration.

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At least 100 paramedics blocked access to the Assembly with their ambulances’ sirens and interment lights blaring, while showing slogans such as “The State Killed Me,” and “Ambulances in Agony.”

The workers from the health sector are opposed to article 80 of the 2018 social security financing bill.

“The efforts to rein in spending driven by the 2018 social security financing bill are helping to reduce the public deficit as pledged by the Primer Minister in his General Policy Statement,” according to a government website.

For the workers this bill threatens to “Uberize the transportation of the sick,” as it changes the rules governing transport between health-care establishments, allowing hospitals and clinics to choose their own providers, which could favor big transportation firms.

Footage of the ambulance's surprise 'blockade' can be seen below:

This latest demonstration against Macron’s regime shows a snowballing effect of discontent and protest which is heavily eroding the leaders popularity, now nearly 20 percent.  

Protests in Paris over the weekend left 100 injured and 412 people arrested. Prime minister Edouard Philippe is set to hold conversations with “yellow vest” protesters after the escalation of violence occurred in anti-government demonstrations.

The wave of protests were sparked when the government announced a one percent tax increase on petrol prices, which prime minister Philippe recently confirmed, showing the government is unwilling to revise its conservative fiscal policies.

Paris defends the tax measure as a means to combat climate change. However, Le Monde recently reported that from the US$42.8 million earned by the tax, US$9.5 billion, about a fifth of the total, would be destined to the environment.  

Additionally, the measure is seen as disproportionately affecting ten percent of the poorest population by a rate five times higher than it will affect the ten percent of the richest part, according to the French journal Liberation.


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