Cannes’s ‘essential workers’ stage Carlton protest as French pension battle hits festival

·1-min read
© Sarah Meyssonniers, Reuters

A relentless downpour threw a wet blanket on the world’s premier film festival on Friday, but it did not stop Cannes’s “essential workers” from staging a protest outside the Riviera town’s most emblematic palace hotel – a prelude to a larger rally scheduled on Sunday.

France has been roiled by months of mass protests – the biggest in several decades – against a deeply unpopular pension overhaul that President Emmanuel Macron’s government rammed through parliament without a vote.

The protests, some of them violent, have prompted the local authorities in Cannes to order a ban on demonstrations within a broad perimeter around the Palais des Festivals and the town’s palm tree-lined boulevard, the Croisette.

Opponents of the reform, however, have warned that they won’t sit quietly during the festival – a prime showcase for France and one of the world’s most publicised events, luring visitors and media organisations from all corners of the world.

The government has also faced fierce criticism over the timing of its reform, coming on the heels of the pandemic and amid a crippling inflation crisis.

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