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Protest and Power in France

French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to bypass the National Assembly to implement his controversial pension reform arguably fueled the violence that erupted at May Day protests this year. With the government’s legitimacy fraying, the flaws in the political structure of the Fifth Republic have become glaringly apparent.

LONDON – Too much repetition can diminish the impact of even the most dramatic events. Such is the case with mass protests in France, which erupt so often and persist for so long that much of the world hardly takes notice. But the current bout of protests – which culminated in violent clashes with police on May 1 – warrants reflection about French society’s political alienation and what can be done about it.