France protests: Left-wing protestors say 'enough' to President Macron's reforms

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Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Paris on Saturday to protest sweeping reforms under French president Emmanuel Macron.

Saturday's demonstration, under a large police presence, comes nearly a year to the day since 40-year-old Macron won the presidential race on a centrist platform and with a pledge to shake-up rigid institutions and revitalise the economy.

Organizers of the march, the far left party Defiant France, warned troublemakers to stay away.

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The president's comment quickly sparked lighthearted reaction on social media and in the Australian press amid lively conjecture about the French leader's intent. The Ecole Normale Superieurein Paris is facing sit-ins against Mr Macron's shake-up of the education system.

The event began with a mass picnic, and smaller rallies took place in the southern cities of Toulouse and Bordeaux.

"The issue here are the endless gifts being made to the rich while the French people are struggling", Melenchon told TF1 television ahead of the march, which drew a diverse crowd, from hospital workers and parent groups to communist supporters.

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In any case, the moment made headlines in Australia as a somewhat comedic ending to a serious news conference focusing on violent May Day protests in Paris, the Iran nuclear deal and China's growing influence.

The protest, which coincides with French President Emmanuel Macron's first anniversary in office, has gathered some 160,000, according to organizers.

Many French leftists have called for Macron's opponents, from students to striking rail workers, to join forces in a re-run of the massive May 1968 protest movement that shook France exactly half a century ago.

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More than 25,000 people have so far contributed to the online solidarity pot in six weeks.

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