Macron faces spreading student protests, strikes

Saint-Dié-des-Vosges: President Emmanuel Macron faced booing from hostile railway workers on Wednesday while touring a town in eastern France, as spreading student protests and the fourth round of crippling train strikes in a month piled on the pressure.
The 40-year-old leader is facing the biggest test of his nearly 12-month presidency as train drivers, public sector workers and students protest against his economic reforms.
On a visit to the town of Saint-Die-des-Vosges, Macron was booed and whistled by angry trade unionists from the hard-left CGT which is spearheading attempts to resist the centrist’s pro-business agenda.
“We can have differences, but we need to respect each other,” Macron said while calling on staff of the SNCF rail operator to end their rolling strikes, which began at the start of the month and could continue until late June.
Only one in three high-speed TGVs and one in four inter-city trains were running on Wednesday, with the same number expected on Thursday when a new round of mass demonstrations and stoppages have been called nationwide.
Civil servants, workers in state retirement homes and students have been urged to demonstrate for the second time in a month after previous protests drew hundreds of thousands onto the streets.
Unlike last time, the Paris metro faces disruption, while a union leader in the energy sector warned of “targeted” power cuts as part of a campaign to push for the creation of a new national energy provider.
On Tuesday, students occupied the prestigious Sciences Po university in Paris, the latest campus blocked by protesters over higher education reforms that will make university admission more selective.
— AFP