Thousands of people marched through Paris on Sunday to protest rising costs, after weeks of strikes for greater salaries at oil refineries fueled calls for a countrywide strike.
Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader of the hard-left group La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), marched with this year’s Nobel Prize laureate for Literature, Annie Ernaux. He has called for a countrywide strike on Tuesday.
“You’re going to have a week like no other; we started it with this march,” he promised the throng.
Melenchon followed the footsteps of four unions – but not France’s biggest, the moderate CFDT – which have called for strikes and protests on Tuesday for wage increases.
After the government ordered the requisitioning of certain oil refinery workers, which unions saw as a breach of their constitutional rights, the four unions organised the protests to help safeguard the right to strike.
The march was organized in response to a plea from the NUPES parliamentary coalition, which seeks to put an end to recent allegations of domestic violence against senior members.
According to Budget Minister Gabriel Attal, the left-wing coalition is aiming to capitalize on the current scenario, which is characterized by prolonged strikes at French utility EDF’s nuclear reactors and at French oil refineries.
“Today’s march is a march of supporters who want to blockade the nation,” he declared on France 1 radio.