Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding

News, October 2012


Al-Jazeerah History


Mission & Name  

Conflict Terminology  


Gaza Holocaust  

Gulf War  




News Photos  

Opinion Editorials

US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)




Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.


Thousands March in Paris Against Austerity


France 24, October 1, 2012


Chanting "resistance", demonstrators took to the streets of Paris on Sunday to protest against austerity policies and Europe’s new budget treaty, in the first major demonstration since President François Hollande took power four months ago.

By Rachel HOLMAN (text)

Tens of thousands of people marched through the sunny streets of Paris on Sunday to protest against an EU fiscal treaty requiring governments to commit to stricter economic practices, in the latest in a string of anti-austerity rallies across Europe.

In Pictures: Demonstrators take to Paris' streets to protest against austerity

The march, which organisers say drew 80,000 people, weaved its way across the east of Paris, near the historic Place de la Bastille, with demonstrators chanting “resistance, resistance”, while hundreds of flags and protest signs bobbed above the crowd. Others sang, “Hollande, do you know where we’re going to stick your treaty?”

Noé, who declined to give his last name, said he had made the five-hour journey from the southern city of Toulon by bus in order to protest against Europe’s new budget treaty.

“Politics have taken a back seat to finance,” Noé said. “This treaty was created to comfort the world of finance; austerity measures only fill bankers and financiers’ pockets. That’s what I can’t stand. I was never involved with politics before – today is my first protest.”

‘Sarkozy light’

Despite the angry tone of some protesters, one of whom described Hollande as “Sarkozy light”, the rally’s organisers specified that the march was not intended as a criticism of Hollande, but rather of Europe-wide austerity policies.

“Today is the day the French people launch a movement against the policy of austerity”, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the famed firebrand leader of the far-left Front de Gauche party and a former presidential candidate, said at the march.

Syndicate contentAUSTERITY IN FRANCE

“I am opposed to a Europe based on banks and finance,” said Marie-Ange Bouies, a Front de Gauche supporter who travelled to Paris from Limoges, in central France. “There are protest movements all over Europe, and one day Brussels and politicians will have to take into account the opinion of those in the street.”

The demonstration comes after Hollande’s government unveiled its 2013 budget on Friday, which included an array of tax hikes and spending cuts in an effort to make up for a 37 million euro black hole in the country’s public finances.

Protesters say worse is to come, with Europe’s budget treaty requiring countries to commit to strict fiscal discipline.

Referendum on austerity

The treaty, which was negotiated during Sarkozy’s tenure as president, will be discussed in the French National Assembly starting on Tuesday. While some left-leaning lawmakers have vowed to vote against it, the treaty is likely to be approved with a comfortable majority.

But for the protesters in Paris, the choice should not be left to parliament.

“We want a referendum on this treaty”, Monique, who also declined to give her last name, told FRANCE 24, as she stood beside a friend brandishing a protest sign. “Hollande promised he would change it, but he hasn’t at all.”

The EU budget treaty has been criticised by figures on both the left and far-right as a threat to France’s sovereignty.

Speaking just hours before Sunday’s rally, Jérome Cahuzac, France’s budget minister, said protesters were “committing a fundamental error in thinking that the policies we are following are weakening France, when in fact these policies are strengthening it".

In Pictures: Demonstrators take to Paris' streets to protest against austerity
At the head of the march, Jean-Luc Melenchon , leader of the far-left Front Gauche party, waves to supporters. (© FRANCE 24)
As the demonstration kicked off, Monique and Jacques (who declined to give their last names), hold up a sign that read "Listen to the people and not to financers who gorge themselves on debt." (© FRANCE 24)
A group of demonstrators dressed in prison uniforms speak out against austerity measures in countries like Greece and Ireland. (© FRANCE 24)
Christel (right) came with her children, Emma and Hugo, to protest against a "poltical system that puts money first, to the detriment of human beings". (© FRANCE 24)
One protester held up a sign warning against facism under France's Socialist government. (© FRANCE 24)
Noé (left) travelled five hours by bus all the way from France's southern city of Toulon to take part in Sunday's march. "This treaty was created to comfort the world of finance," he said. (© FRANCE 24)
One protester holds up a tiny sign that simply states "No". (© FRANCE 24)

Fair Use Notice

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.




Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & &