By: Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
If in the 19th century when the rapidly declining Ottoman Empire was known as "Sick Man of Europe”, today that description aptly fits France.
What used to be one of the major powers of western Europe, France is now an economically-ill and protest-wracked country where it seems each and every group is demonstrating some day or other to air its never-ending grievances, while an incompetent government led by Emmanuel Macron has no clue on how to solve the people’s problems.
If the Yellow Vest Movement that raged for almost two years has gradually tapered down, new groups are out on the streets to raise their demands.
Yesterday, schoolteachers and university students marched together in protests or went on strike around France to demand more government support amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
"No virus protocol, no school!” read posters carried by the protestors, demanding better virus protections at schools, which have remained open since September despite the fears of the public that students might be infected in a country which has no effective antidote to Covid-19.
"Sick of Zoom!” chanted university students, frustrated that they’ve been barred from campuses since October.
The main concern, however, during Tuesday’s protests in Paris, Marseille and other cities around France was economic.
Teachers unions, who are in unresolved talks with the clueless Macron regime for improved conditions, want higher salaries and demanded that the state hire more educators after years of cost cuts.
Students are seeking more government financial support and want to call attention to emotional troubles among young people cut off from friends, professors and job opportunities amid the pandemic.
France has among the world’s highest number of virus infections and deaths, while the declining economy, coupled with the idiotic policies of Macron at home and abroad have worsened the situation.
France, which today is a mere shadow of its former colonial past, refuses to believe that the era of colonization of other countries is over, and as a result suffers setbacks.
A glaring example is Lebanon, which used to be a French League of Nations mandate territory between the two World Wars, but today the Lebanese people do not want Macron to meddle in their affairs.
The same is the situation in the Francophone countries of Africa, where Paris has made a laughing stock of itself by trying in vain to flex its aching military and economic muscles, with no effect indeed.
Meanwhile the streets of Paris and other cities have become the scenes of tussle between the police and protestors.
Last week, over 200,000 people took to the streets of the capital, while tens of thousands of other protesters marched across France to denounce a security bill that would restrict the filming of police and posting of images on social media – something critics say would impact the ability to document cases of police brutality.
Protesters are also against the use of ramped-up surveillance tools such as drones and pedestrian cameras.
In Paris, marchers came out despite a rare snowfall, carrying banners with slogans such as "Police everywhere, justice nowhere”, and "State of emergency, police state.”
According to protestors, they are living in a dictatorship, adding: "If this is the case in the country which claims to support the rights of man and freedom, then we are ashamed to be French!”