This week has marked major demonstrations and strikes in France, Greece, Italy and Germany against neo-liberalism and attacks on workers rights. There has been almost no coverage of these events in the U.S. media. Here is a brief summary:
• France – Nearly a million students demonstrated on Tuesday, including 200,000 in Paris, 100,000 in Marseille. By Wednesday over three-quarters of French universities were shut down by the students, and many high schools, as well. Labor unions are expected to join the students for massive demonstrations on Saturday. The issue is the right-wing governments implementation of a new labor policy which would essentially strip protective laws for a new workers first two years of employment. For a more comprehensive look in English go here: Unrest in France blog.
• Greece – A general strike shut down Greece on Wednesday. Over ninety percent of government workers and seventy percent of private sector employees walked off the job and joined massive demonstrations in Athens and other cities, protesting neo-liberal policies.
• Italy – Large-scale rioting broke out in Milan after police cracked down on anti-fascist protesters. Dozens were arrested, and a number injured.
• Germany – Today, hundreds of physicians join public service workers who have been out on strike for six weeks fighting a lengthening of the work week. The current work week in Germany is 38.5 hours, but the government wants to increase it to 40 hours with no increase in pay.
Trying to discover information about what is happening in Europe is very difficult. Even the English language edition of Agence France Presse (AFP) has buried the story of the French students so that it’s difficult to find.
The U.S. media, in particular, should be ashamed of itself for its continued blackout of anything having to do with protest here and abroad.