The French are legendary at their ability to turn out to protest. The occasion this time was Sarzoky’s proposal to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 for many occupations. Now, to many people this would not seem like an unreasonable proposal given the severity of economic conditions, and the fact that 60 is relatively young retirement age compared to their European neighbours. However, in France this an affront to everything good and decent. To be fair I think the protest was about more than the headline reason, and is part of a general dissatisfaction about the workers being forced to sacrifice in response to the excesses of the fatcat bankers.
Anyway, who cares what it was really about. I just wanted to see it first hand, so I went and took a look. The chanting wasn’t too bad, although I didn’t understand it, I’ll give it a 7/10, and I liked the flare it gave a sense of danger, to what otherwise had an atmosphere of a street party. There were free sausages if you were socialist enough, which was a thoughtful touch. There were hundreds of police around but they were all busy hiding down side streets away from the main protest, mostly with their feet up in riot gear smoking.