Labor & Workforce

Macron commemorates French Resistance, keeps pension protesters at bay

Paris, May 8 (EFE).- French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday presided over events marking Victory Day, which commemorates the Allied victory against Nazi Germany in World War II, amid heavy security measures to prevent demonstrations in the surrounding area.

“The French Republic is, by definition, neither bad nor nefarious. It is necessary, vital, just,” Macron said, recalling the leaders of the French Resistance in his speech.

Victory Day is being marked this year against a backdrop of social division and discontent generated by the controversial pension reform Macron’s government pushed through.

The events began in Paris, where the head of state paid homage to General Charles de Gaulle by laying a wreath at his statue in Clemenceau Square, before driving up the Avenue des Champs-Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe, where he presided over the traditional lighting of the flame at the tomb of the unknown soldier, which commemorates those who died defending France.

To limit the impact of the protests – that have featured people banging pots and pans to register their disapproval with Macron’s government – since the enactment of the pension reform in April, the security forces established a perimeter of 200 meters in which demonstrations were prohibited, despite criticism from trade unions and the opposition.

Similar measures were implemented in Lyon, where Macron paid tribute to one of the historical leaders of the French Resistance, Jean Moulin, and to the victims of Nazi crimes.

A security perimeter around Montluc prison, where Moulin was imprisoned and where the official events were held, was set up to prevent any demonstrations.

That, however, did not prevent several hundred protesters from organizing a rally in the center of the city, according to local media, to highlight their dissatisfaction with the government for raising the minimum retirement age.

At Moulin prison, Macron delivered a speech paying tribute to Moulin and the Resistance, in which he gave a nod to the unions despite the current social tensions in the country.

In particular, he recalled how “the two great unions of Republican France” were part of the internal opposition to the Nazis.

Victory Day celebrates the triumph of the Allied bloc over Nazi Germany and the end of World War II in Europe. EFE


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