The Latest: French protesters express fear of more cutbacks

Markets Associated Press

The Latest on France's public sector strike and demonstration (all times local):

Continue Reading Below

4:45 p.m.

Nurse Beatrice Vieval says her Paris hospital has seen three recent suicides among staff, and she fears that plans by President Emmanuel Macron's government to cut public servant jobs and to freeze wages "will make the situation worse."

She's among thousands of people on strike or marching through Paris and other cities Tuesday against Macron's economic policies.

Hospital workers made up many of the protesters. Vieval, who works at the Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris, told The Associated Press she already feels squeezed by increasing cutbacks — "wages are frozen, hospital conditions are deteriorated, staff are depleted by reorganizing services."

Philosophy student Amado Lebaube said degraded working conditions are already hurting consumers of public services, and could threaten his ability to stay in school.

Continue Reading Below

He expressed thanks for state-paid teachers, student housing aid and government scholarships, adding, "I can study today because there are public services in this country."

___

4:30 p.m.

Police are using tear gas and batons to push back protesters throwing projectiles at a demonstration in Paris over public sector job cuts and salary freezes.

While Tuesday's demonstration was largely peaceful, a small group of protesters skirmished with police at the end of a march to the Place de la Nation in eastern Paris. Several people could be seen with injuries.

A Paris police spokesman said protesters were throwing projectiles at police and businesses, including a bank. The spokesman, who was not authorized to be publicly named, said three people were detained at the beginning of the march for carrying weapons.

Demonstrations were held in cities around France after all the country's leading unions called for public sector strikes and protests against President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies, which they say would result in deteriorating work conditions.

___

10:35 a.m.

A strike by French public sector workers is affecting schools, hospitals and public services and causing disruptions in domestic air traffic.

Nine public sector unions have called for nationwide industrial action Tuesday to protest against what they say is a deterioration in work conditions.

The unions are angry at a plan to tighten rules for sick leave, freeze salaries and decrease the number of public sector employees in the next five years.

Carrier Air France says it expects to run all long-haul flights to and from Paris airports, but to cancel about 25 percent of domestic flights due to a walkout by some traffic controllers.

Railway traffic was expected to be close to normal.

French President Emmanuel Macron's proposed changes to labor laws have prompted street protests in recent weeks.