Emmanuel Macron said that the end of the nationwide lockdown in 10 days would just be a tentative first step on the road to recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.
The president said life “wouldn’t be back to normal” and there will be “several phases” in lifting the restrictions, with May 11 just being “one of them.” He added that a “recovery [period] has to be organized”; his comments followed a meeting with French horticulturalists.
From May 11 schools and businesses will gradually reopen across the country, which has been locked down since March.
Labor Day is traditionally celebrated widely in France, with thousands taking to the streets in demonstrations for workers’ rights. This year, however, all mass gatherings have been banned due to the coronavirus pandemic, and labor activists had to find unconventional ways to protest.
Trade unions have organized online protests, as well as calling upon people to display banners and to bang pots and pans from their balconies to show support.
Several small-scale demonstrations have been staged in front of several hospitals across the country, with the activists protesting against the government’s management of healthcare and handling of the coronavirus crisis.
A handful of protesters showed up in front of the Robert-Debre pediatric hospital in Paris, displaying a banner and banging pots.
A large banner, reading “Hospital attacked… by years of austerity,” was displayed overnight in front of another hospital in the French capital as well.
— Charles Baudry (@CharlesBaudry) May 1, 2020
A group of left-wing protesters tried to stage a demonstration in the very heart of Paris at the Place de la Republique, defying the coronavirus restrictions. The group was promptly swarmed by police and several activists were detained.
Header: A man with a banner reading “let’s not sacrifice life for fear of death” is detained by police officers in Paris, France on May 1, 2020. © Reuters / Benoit Tessier