In France, more than 50,000 people took to the streets on Thursday, blockading roads and barricading schools, as the French government narrowly survived a vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly over President François Hollande’s controversial labor reforms. Opponents of the bill were about 40 votes shy of the 288 necessary to defeat the reforms. The controversial labor reforms were forced through two days ago using a little-used power. The proposals have sparked massive protests by students and unions across France. The movement has been dubbed “Nuit debout,” or “Rise up at night.” On Thursday, Philippe Martinez, general secretary of the CGT union, spoke out.
Philippe Martinez: “The most important thing is what the people are feeling. There hasn’t been any dialogue with the unions, because the bill was imposed on us, and democracy has once again been brushed aside at the National Assembly. I think that for a government that talks a lot about dialogue, about debate, well, they’re showing us what their idea of dialogue is: Let’s move by force, let’s try and scare workers and the young, the people. They should look at the polls, because over 70 percent of the people in this country are against this bill.”