We stand with the French people in the face of violent crackdowns on popular protest and the criminalisation of dissent by Emmanuel Macron’s government.
The French people have been striking and protesting against Macron’s government due to his cuts to their pension system, following a long string of neoliberal reforms that have been eroding living standards for workers in France for years. Macron’s pension cuts are opposed by the vast majority of the French people and are so unpopular Macron felt it necessary to bypass parliament to implement them. Over the course of these protests, the French police have acted with extreme violence against participants and made use of military grade equipment against citizens, such as plastic grenades. The French government has encouraged this approach by the police and its spokespeople have attempted to legitimise the police violence by creating a false narrative in the media that the popular protests are led by ‘cop killers’.
Last weekend, the French government and the police chose to make an example of environmental protesters campaigning against the privatisation of public water supplies in mega reservoirs to try to further this narrative. Government spokespeople named these environmental protestors as the same ‘cop killers’ who were leading the pension protests. When it came to the protest, police were deployed in large numbers and acted with extreme violence towards protestors, resulting in over 200 protestors suffering serious injuries, 40 protestors being physically disfigured, such as losing eyes, and two protestors being nearly killed. These two protestors are currently in a coma in a life or death situation. The police also refused to allow medical professionals access to treat the injured. Since the environmental protest last weekend, the French interior minister has declared he intends to proscribe and criminalise the environmental campaign group organising the protest.
The extreme violence of the police and the criminalisation by the interior minister are clearly aimed at suppressing the movement against the pension cuts. This is an unacceptable attack on the democratic freedoms and human rights of French citizens. We stand with the French people and support the victory of the movements against Macron’s pension cuts and against his privatisation of water.
Peter Mertens, General Secretary, Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB-PVDA), Belgium
Raoul Hedebouw, President, Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB-PVDA), Belgium
Marc Botenga, Member of the European Parliament, Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB-PVDA), Belgium
Jeremy Corbyn, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom
John McDonnell, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom
Niki Ashton, Member of Parliament for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, Canada
Ammar Ali Jan, Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement, Pakistan
Yanis Varoufakis, Member of Hellenic Parliament, Greece
Janine Wissler, Member of the Bundestag; Co-chair of Die Linke, Germany
Nilab Ahmadi, City Council Member of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phil Clarke, Vice President of the National Education Union, United Kingdom
Henry Chango Lopez, General Secretary, Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain, United Kingdom
Nadia Whitome, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom
Bell Ribeiro Addy, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom
Ian Byrne, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom