Tens of thousands of Frenchmen are expected to take part in the third series of mass protests Saturday against President Emmanuel Macron’s labor reforms.
Macron signed a number of labor reforms into law Friday, despite widespread protests. The overhaul gives more flexibility to smaller business to negotiate their own terms with workers and makes it easier for companies to fire employees.
The president has defended the reforms as a way to bring down France’s high unemployment rate and boost entrepreneurship. Labor unions have called temporary strikes and hosted hundreds of rallies across the country.
“I believe in democracy but democracy is not the street,” Macron told CNN Tuesday.
Hard-left opposition leader Jean-Luc Melenchon has called the fight against Macron’s reforms “the battle of France.” Melenchon, who finished fourth in the presidential election this spring, rallied his supporters to take part in Saturday’s protests.
“We won’t let them empty the poor’s pockets to feed the rich!” Melenchon’s “France Unbowed” party said in flyers distributed at a rally in Paris, according to Reuters.
Macron has enjoyed historically low approval ratings for a newly-elected president. Support for the 39-year-old centrist fell six points to 30 percent in August.
“Emmanuel Macron sees the election as a blank cheque to do what he wants,” David Guiraud, a spokesman for France Unbowed, told AFP. “He has an authoritarian approach to power.”
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