Demonstration against pensions in France on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival
Although protests over pension reform have rocked France in recent months, the protests have been largely kept at bay during one of the country’s most glitzy events, the Cannes Film Festival.
CANNES, France — Protests over pension reform have rocked France in recent months, but the demonstrations have been largely kept at bay during one of the country’s most glitzy events, the Cannes Film Festival.
On Sunday, dozens of demonstrators gathered in Cannes to oppose the lifting of reforms pushed through parliament by the government of President Emmanuel Macron. These events, however, were far from the center of the festival, the Palais des Festivals, or Cannes’ seaside boulevard, the Croisette. Instead, they gathered on the outskirts of town, on Boulevard Carnot.
“We are against pension reforms which will kill a lot of people at work,” said Tomas Ghestem, one of the protesters.
Ahead of the festival, local authorities in Cannes ordered a ban on gatherings in much of Cannes. The move was part of growing attempts across France to ban protests in some high-profile venues. Unions have called for a new round of nationwide protests on June 6.
The ban kept Cannes’ famous red carpet away from protests and prevented one of France’s most controversial issues from disrupting the festival’s highly orchestrated run.
An exception was Friday. Hospital workers circumvented the ban by protesting on private grounds outside the Carlton Hotel, a historic luxury hotel where many stars stay during the festival stay. Hotel and restaurant workers held up a banner reading ‘No to pension reform’.
Labor disputes have colored much of Cannes this year, which occurs as Hollywood screenwriters go on strike. Film and TV screenwriters are seeking higher salaries, reforms for the streaming age and safeguards against the use of artificial intelligence.
Juror Paul Dano said he plans to join the picket lines when he returns home. Sean Penn called the studios’ stance on AI “human obscenity”. The board of SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, voted earlier this week to ask its members for strike permission in its own negotiations with the studios for a new contract.