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Hollande defends labour reforms amid ongoing street protests

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By Seamus Kearney
Hollande defends labour reforms amid ongoing street protests

Dozens of people have been arrested on the margins of a protest in Paris over planned labour reforms.

This as France’s unpopular president made a television appearance to defend his policies.

The government argues more flexibility in the labour market will result in more jobs, but critics say key rights are being eroded.

Francois Hollande has been facing weekly demonstrations by unions and student groups.

Union member Elsa Iguedjtal said: “The changes that have been made have just been cosmetic, it’s to break the momentum and create a split between young people and the workers.

“And today we’re pleased they’re still here and that they’re still on the streets with us for this movement, and we’ll carry on until the law is withdrawn.”

President Hollande is sticking to his guns, however.

He told a TV programme: “Some of the people who protest in the streets think the bill must be withdrawn. It will not be withdrawn.

“But there can be discussions with the unions, at least those who understand the meaning of it and push for this reform.”

Despite anger over the planned reforms, and his low popularity ratings, President Hollande insisted in the TV interview that his policies are producing results and will continue to do so.