Wednesday, June 17, 2020

France: Thousands of healthcare workers in the streets said "applause is not enough"!

“Applause is not enough” said yesterday hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers throughout France, demonstrating for their jobs, their rights and the country’s public healthcare system. 

At least 250,000 protesters in Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Lille and other French cities participated in protests against Macron government’s neoliberal policies which lead to more cuts in public healthcare sector. To date, the government hasn’t responded to the major urgent demands of healthcare and hospital workers who ask for increased wages, for an end to bed and hospital closures and for an increase of healthcare workers in public hospitals with sufficient medical equipment. 

The COVID-19 pandemic proved that, although French hospitals are considered to be among the world’s best, the years-long cut-spending policy led to significant shortages in both medical personnel and equipment. During the previous months, France has reported nearly 30,000 coronavirus-related deaths, which is the fifth-highest pandemic death toll worldwide. 

Once again the government of Emmanuel Macron responded to the large peaceful mobilization with police violence and repression. In Paris, as the protesters reached the area of Les Invalides, police fired tear gas in order to disperse them. 

The 16th June mobilization was certainly a successful day of protest and marks the beginning of new workers’ demonstrators against the anti-worker, anti-people policies of Macron government. It is estimated that at least 90,000-100,000 protesters marched in Paris, approximately 20,000 in Marseille and Toulouse, 13,000 in Lyon, 10,000 in Lille and Nantes, as well as in other French cities. 

The mobilization of healthcare workers was joined by workers from the chemical industry, who demand increase in wages and measures of security in hygiene, as well as by members of Communist Parties, including members of the Pole of Communist Revival in France (PCRF).