France is currently in the throes of an ongoing confrontation between the government and hard-line left-wing unions (and students) over the Socialist government's new labour law, with street protests (some violent), strikes, blockades, and, of course, the obligatory burning of tyres. At the moment, neither side looks like backing down, and with petrol in short supply and the prospect of more industrial action (not to mention the ever-present terrorist threat), things are not looking good for the Euro 2016 football tournament due to start in a couple of weeks.
This cartoon by Chappatte from Le Temps, Switzerland, shows French president François Hollande looking out of the window of the Elysée presidential palace at the protesting crowds below. Behind him stands the ghost of iconic French war hero and later president Charles de Gaulle, who tells Hollande: "There's only one thing to do in France: abolish the month of May".
De Gaulle is referring to the events of May 1968, when, during his presidency, there was an even more serious period of civil unrest with demonstrations and massive general strikes as well as the occupation of universities and factories across France.
One irony of the current row is that the economic plans of popular figures such as Alain Juppé, who is bidding to represent the mainstream right in the 2017 presidential election, are much more business-orientated and free-market than those for which Hollande is currently under fire. Still, if the current government can make it through to the beginning of July, it might just survive, since the whole of France goes on holiday for two months then ...
• Riot police crack down on Paris protests against labour reforms (The Guardian)
• Why have France's labour reforms proved so contentious? (The Guardian)
• French riot police use water cannon to break up fuel depot blockade (The Guardian)
• Union revolt puts both Hollande's future and France's image on the line (The Guardian)