Day of Anger: Thousands rally in Paris to protest Hollande’s policies
Around 17,000 people staged a ‘Day of Anger’ demonstration in central Paris on Sunday to slam French President Francois Hollande’s policies.
Protesters carried banners that read, "The French are angry!" along with signs portraying Hollande wearing donkey ears with a school grade of Zero which read, "You, President Resign.”
The demonstrators marched from Place de la Bastille to Les Invalides, braving rainy weather as they went along.
The rally was organized by a group of around 50 small and mainly right-wing organizations.
The demonstrators gathered to protest against France’s struggling economy, high unemployment, high taxes, and lack of personal freedoms.
"Today they are taking our money from all sides. There are new taxes all the time. We have had enough!" protester Johan Bonnain told AP.
Some called for France's withdrawal from the European Union. Others called for the repeal of laws legalizing same-sex marriages.
The crowd complained about the recent scandal involving Hollande’s personal life, which led to the end of his seven-year relationship with France's first lady, Valerie Trierweiler.
"You are here to say you are fed up," an organizer told the crowd, adding that the country’s leaders "are more preoccupied with their affairs...than unemployment," AFP reported.
Police reported several attacks on journalists. Activists from the controversial protest group Femen were removed from the scene after insulting protesters, ITAR-TASS reported.
France is struggling to cope with huge levels of unemployment. In December, the Labor Ministry issued a report which showed that the number of people registered as “out of work” in mainland France had grown by 17,800 in November to 3.29 million. The government recently announced plans for 50 billion euro (US$68 billion) in spending cuts between 2015 and 2017, in an effort to revive the economy.