Thousands take to the streets of Paris to protest soaring prices

PARIS, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Thousands took to the streets of Paris on Sunday to protest soaring oil prices as a weeks-long strike at refineries demanding higher wages sparked calls for a general strike.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the far-left party La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), marched with this year’s Nobel Prize winner for literature, Annie Ernaux. He called for a general strike on Tuesday.

“You’re going to have a week like no other, and we’re the start of this parade,” he told the crowd.

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Melenchon follows in the footsteps of four unions – but not the CFDT, France’s largest moderate – who on Tuesday called for strikes and protests to increase wages.

Four unions also called for protests to help protect the right to strike after the government ordered the expropriation of some refinery workers, a move the unions said violated their constitutional rights.

The march follows an appeal by the NUPES IPU, which wants to turn the page on the domestic violence allegations that have plagued senior members recently.

Budget minister Gabriel Attal said the left-wing coalition was trying to take advantage of the current situation, which has been marked by strikes at French utility EDF’s nuclear power plants and French oil refineries.

“Today’s march is a march of supporters who want to block the country,” he said on French radio station Europe 1.

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Reporting by Lucient Libert and St├ępahne Mahe; Additional reporting by Bertrand Boucey; Writing by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Nick McPhee

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