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On Air: Do you admire the French Protesters?

Claudia Bradshaw Claudia Bradshaw | 10:47 UK time, Tuesday, 26 October 2010


After weeks of protest and days of strikes, it's the students turn today. They are planning mass street rallies in France. But as a quarter of refinery workers return to work and rubbish collectors suspend their strike in Marseille, some are claiming the protests are running out of steam.

Seven refineries are still closed and unless they re-open France could still face an even worse fuel crisis. The French government, which is due to have a final vote on pension reforms this week, has warned the disruption is harming its economic recovery. People around the world are split over whether they think the French people are setting the right example.

Here are some emails to the BBC from people who certainly don't agree with their tactics...

Linda in Texas: I agree with the President. In order to help to get the economy back on track you have to have more people working. The retirement age is 65 in the states. The protestors are not using the brains that God gave them.

Lebaud in Morocco: Bravo Sarkozy and the Senate. Wake up France and face reality. Those famous 'egotistical' words of De Gaulle, 'without France the light of the world would go out' no longer applies. If the strikers and the unions continue to hold France at ransom the only light that will diminish is in France.

And Christopher in Switzerland: I fail to understand the French. I think they have it too good for too long. In the rest of Europe retirement is between 65 and 70. I am 66 and happy to continue working and indeed am glad that I am still considered to have a value for our business. Wake up France you cannot continue to pay more than you receive, a recipe for bankruptcy.

Piglet in France blogs: How many people do I know that are still students in France aged 28, 29 or even 30? I'm not talking about foreign students either or mature students, I'm talking about people who have never worked (it's not that normal to get a student job here), never contributed to the system and are now demonstrating in the streets so that they get their pension?

Kurren tweets: France: out of the market, no internet access, permanent strikes, nonsense state support for newspapers. Is France the new Portugal?

But lots of people do admire what the French people are doing...

Sherry in the USA blogging about the US mid-terms says: Look at the mass strikes and protests in France involving millions of workers and youth who are defying policies that will gut their welfare state. They are showing an alternative route to social and economic change that is more likely to have a profound impact on their future than anything that happens at the ballot box.

Doris in Canada emails: World-wide, ordinary people have figured out that these "austerity" measures are to pay for the bank bail-outs.

And Bob blogs: They are striking to protect a way of life that they have already fought hard to acquire, a way of life that provides them with the kind of social security that protects everyone, from the most disadvantaged members of society right on up to Madame Bettencourt, the kind of security that the nation that proclaims itself the greatest in the history of the earth should be providing to its citizens.

What's your response? Do you admire the French Protesters?

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