Some 140,000 people, according to the organizers; 30,000, according to the Police, took to the streets of Paris this Sunday afternoon to support the call “Against the high cost of living and climate inaction”.
The independent company Occurrence has counted 29,500 people in the protest, according to the French television BFMTV, in the demonstration, called by the coalition New Popular Ecologist and Social Union (NUPES), which brings together the French political left.
“We have already succeeded in our bet. This is only the beginning,” stressed the deputy of La France Insoumise Aurélie Trouvou, who is leading the march. Also the leader of NUPES, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has stressed that the demonstration is “a great success”.
“Popular unity is the solution to the open crisis,” Mélenchon has stressed from the podium. “You are going to live a week like we don’t see so often,” he has stressed, while calling to participate in the general strike next Tuesday. “Don’t miss it. Don’t leave your place in the struggle to others,” he said.
“We are in the process of drawing the construction of a new popular front that will come to power in our country when the time comes,” he has stressed, while appealing to the current president, Emmanuel Macron, “Do not touch the pensions!”.
As for the strike at the five Total refineries that has caused shortages and long lines at gas stations, Mélenchon has assured that “it is the bosses, the refineries who are blocking the country.”
“The workers are making use of their constitutional right, which is to strike,” he has argued. Moreover, “those who let the situation come to this, knew that if there was a strike, there would be no gasoline.” Mélenchon marched accompanied by the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature Annie Ernaux.
About 2,000 police and gendarmes have been mobilized this Sunday as part of the security deployment during the demonstration. Some material damage was reported to shop windows and facades of some stores and banks such as Société Générale. Some individuals managed to gain access to the bank branch and removed several computers which they left on the sidewalk.
There have also been attempts to damage commercial signs or banking establishments that were “prevented” by the Police, according to a police source quoted by BFMTV.