They’re at it again, les Français. Forget le football, we all know striking is France’s national sport and today saw a fine example of the game.
A staggering 2.5 million workers took to the streets to protest against Sarkozy’s handling of the economic crisis.
Unions are demanding that he do more to protect employment, public services and le pouvoir d’achat (the buying power of the average man).
Schools closed. Transport came to almost a complete halt with only 30% of trains running.
And yet despite all the disruption brought by this “jeudi noir” (as the French press are calling it), public opinion is behind the strikers.
According to a poll conducted for the weekly news magazine L’Express, 69% of the French public think their action is “justifié”. (Get hold of this pole here.)
People throughout France feel that President Bling, as Sarkozy is known for his love of Rolex watches, is not doing enough to help the ordinary man.
They sympathize with the strikers cry of “on ne veut pas payer pour les banquiers!” (We don’t want to pay for the bankers). They agree with FO union leader Jean-Claude Mailly’s characterisation of the French government as “irrésponsable”.
With the President not prepared to listen, things turned nasty. This evening, there are reports of youths throwing bottles and lighting fires on the streets of Paris. (See BBC.)
This isn’t your average strike, an average grève. This is revolt.