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News > France

Macron Throws Gasoline on the Fire, French Workers' Leader Says

  • A riot police officer points his gun towards protesters, France, March 23, 2023.

    A riot police officer points his gun towards protesters, France, March 23, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/ @CartesDuMonde

Published 23 March 2023

Instead of assuming the legitimacy of the protests, President Emmanuel Macron verbally lashes out at the French, comparing them to Brazilian and U.S. right-wing extremists.

On Thursday, the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) and the French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT) harshly criticized President Emmanuel Macron, who made statements downplaying the importance of the massive protests against his pension reform.


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During an interview on Wednesday, Macron tried to discredit the French protests by comparing them to acts of vandalism perpetrated by far-right militants in Brazil and the United States.

"He threw a can of gasoline on the fire... That is a provocation," CGT Secretary Philippe Martinez said referring to the ongoing reactions in a country that is going through an "explosive situation" during the 9th day of national protest.

But "Macron doesn't care," the workers' leader said, explaining that the defamatory phrases against French citizens are part of a government strategy to magnify some incidents resulting from the outrage of the people.

"There's a lot of anger... A lot of high school and college students are out on the streets," Martinez also pointed out.

CFDT Secretary Laurent Berger also complained about the comparisons made by President Macron and stressed that his union is against any violent action against property and people.

On Thursday, however, the riot police unleashed strong altercations with the citizens. In the city of Rennes, for example, officers used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters, who clashed vigorously with police.

In Lorient, angry citizens attacked government offices and a police station, according to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who said such acts would not go unpunished.

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