2022 French protests

2022 French protests
Part of protests against Emmanuel Macron
Procession of Révolution Permanente [fr] on 16 October 2022, in a demonstration for supporting the strikers
Date16 October – 10 November 2022
(3 weeks and 4 days)
Caused byRise of living costs
  • Strike action
  • Blocking traffic
  • Disabling traffic
  • Rioting

Thousands of people across France came to the streets in October 2022, launching a statewide strike against the rise in the cost of living. The demonstrations erupted following weeks of "walkouts" that have crippled oil refineries and caused gasoline shortages.[1] The demonstrations have been described by Caroline Pailliez and Clotaire Achi of Reuters as the "stiffest challenge" for Emanuel Macron since his re-election in May 2022.[2]


According to the French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, on 18 October less than a 25% of petrol stations across France were experiencing shortages,[1] which was less than the 30% per cent previously on 7 October.[3] Strike action and unplanned maintenance had led to more than 60 per cent of France's refining capacity – or 740,000 barrels per day (bpd) — being offline which in turn forced the country to import more amid the increased energy costs due to the global supply uncertainty.[1] Strikes have further erupted into other sectors such as energy, "including nuclear giant EDF, where maintenance work crucial for Europe’s power supply will be delayed."[1] There have been weeks of strikes at oil refineries for higher salaries which led to calls for a nationwide and general strike.[4][1]

French President Emmanuel Macron criticized the United States, Norway and other "friendly" natural gas supplier states for the extremely high prices of their supplies, saying that Europeans are "paying four times more than the price you sell to your industry. That is not exactly the meaning of friendship."[5][6]

Timeline of the demonstrations

16 October

The first demonstrations occurred on 16 October 2022, when tens of thousands of people marched in Paris to protest the rising cost of living, during an increasing political situation manifested by strikes at oil refineries and nuclear power plants that threatened to spread.[7] Annie Ernaux, winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature, known for as an "outspoken supporter of the left", participated in the demonstrations.[7] Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of leftist party La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), was also among the participants.[4]

18 October

Students at the demonstration of 18 October 2022 in Saint-Étienne, France.

On Tuesday, transportation workers, as well as some high school teachers and public hospital personnel, demonstrated in dozens of locations across France.[1] According to the French interior minister, 107,000 people participated in the protests following calls from leftwing parties. A number of black-clad protesters clashed with the Police and smashed shop windows with 11 protesters being arrested in Paris.[2] Other estimates stated that over 300,000 people participated in the protests.[8] Accordingly, thousands protested in Bordeaux, Le Havre, Lille, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, and Rennes, while union leaders estimated that 70,000 people marched in Paris.[8]

Students protested outside hundreds of additional schools across the nation on Tuesday morning. Protesting students voiced their support for striking refinery workers and opposition to the Macron administration's policies. "We are here against the repression and police violence that are only increasing," said a student speaking to L’Est Republicain.[9] Numerous students also demonstrated in opposition to the government's "discriminatory anti-Muslim legislation and deepening cuts to national education". In French public schools, young Muslim women are strictly prohibited to cover their hair or face using any type of fabric.[9]

25 and 27 October

Certain unions called for fresh strikes to be taken on 10 November.[10][11]


Some lawmakers stated that the purpose of the demonstrations was to exert pressure on the administration since "a high-risk week began in the National Assembly, where Mr. Macron no longer has an absolute majority."[7] According to Kacper Kita, analyst and journalist, it is "entirely possible" that the protests could become violent, "especially because the economic situation can get worse and the energy crisis can get worse in the coming weeks and months."[12]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Why are workers striking and protesting across France?". www.aljazeera.com. 18 October 2022. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  2. ^ a b Pailliez, Caroline; Achi, Clotaire (18 October 2022). "Scuffles break out as French strike to call for higher wages". Reuters. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  3. ^ "Paris petrol stations run dry amid TotalEnergies refinery strikes". www.aljazeera.com. 7 October 2022. Retrieved 2 November 2022.
  4. ^ a b Libert, Lucien; Mahe, Stéphane (16 October 2022). "Thousands take to the streets of Paris to protest soaring prices". Reuters. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  5. ^ "Macron Pledges to Talk Tough on Gas When G-7 Meets". Bloomberg. 6 September 2022.
  6. ^ "Macron Accuses US of Trade 'Double Standard' Amid Energy Crunch". Bloomberg. 21 October 2022.
  7. ^ a b c Méheut, Constant (16 October 2022). "Tens of Thousands March in Paris to Protest Rising Living Costs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  8. ^ a b "French police assault workers marching against inflation and in support of refinery strike". World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  9. ^ a b "French high school students stage mass walkout in solidarity with striking refinery workers". World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved 20 October 2022.
  10. ^ "France braces for new massive strike amid cost of living woes". www.aa.com.tr. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  11. ^ "Nouvelle journée de grève et de manifestations pour demander de meilleurs salaires, à l'appel de la CGT". Le Monde.fr (in French). 27 October 2022. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  12. ^ S.A, Telewizja Polska. "Future protests in France could turn violent: analyst". tvpworld.com. Retrieved 19 October 2022.