More than 10 million French workers stayed away from their jobs today (Wednesday) in protest the Government's demand for special powers to deal with economic problems.
More than 10 million French workers stayed away from their jobs today (Wednesday) in protest the Government's demand for special powers to deal with economic problems. The strike, believed to be the biggest in 30 years, paralysed the country with public transport in the towns almost at a standstill, electricity cut, and the pressure of gas and water supplies dwindling to a trickle. More than half the country's labour force joined the 24 hour protest, and some 100,000 demonstrated in Paris. There were similar demonstrations in other cities.
The strike began yesterday evening when printing men walked out effectively stopping all newspaper reports of General de Gaulles' press conference until Thursday. Railway and electricity workers followed soon afterwards and the number of striking railway men rose to an unprecedented 95 percent.
With commuter transport virtually out of action, Parisians took to their cars, and huge traffic jams built-up in many parts of the city. Army lorries were used as buses, and police vans were also called into service, for the first time on such an occasion.
A huge demonstration took place in Paris when an estimated 100,000 people marched through the streets chanting "No to Special Powers" "Jail Pompidou" and "Charlie Resign."
Hundreds of separate groups representing all kinds of workers comprised the procession which moved along slowly in perfect order.
Tonight Paris began returning to normal, and all services are expected to be restored by tomorrow morning.
The giant Communist-dominated C.G.T. Union said in a statement that the strikes had shown their unequivocal opposition to the Government's bid to obtain special powers to rule by decree.