January 29, 2009
People everywhere talk about the economic crisis, but the French, in their way, are doing something about it. France has come to a near standstill for a one-day general strike, the CBC’s David Common reports from Paris.
Hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets, protesting that banks, not people, are being bailed out and decrying President Nicolas Sarkozy’s cost-cutting moves as unemployment creeps toward 10 per cent.
“Today is being called Black Thursday here in France, and with good reason,” Common reports. “Here’s just a partial list of the things that are closed or in limited service: the metro, buses, trains, airports, hospitals, schools, government offices, post offices — the list goes on and on.”
Thierry Dedieu, a leader of one of country’s major labour groups, the Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail, put the protesters’ view this way: “We want to show that people are dissatisfied at the moment. We don’t want to have to pay for a crisis that we’re not responsible for.”
Although general strikes are no novelty in France, this one seems to have unnerved Sarkozy, who has been uncharacteristically quiet.