Protesters march in Paris over hospital conditions

The protesters joined together on the roads, with banners, trumpets and flags

Around 600 protesters blocked the Champs-Élysées and marched to the Ministry of Health in Paris yesterday to complain about working conditions in hospitals.

The protest, called by union SUD Sante-Sociaux, saw hundreds bring banners and flags, and occupy space on the main road as well as on the Esplanade des Invalides.

Several MPs from opposition party La France Insoumise were also present (Caroline Fiat, Clémentine Autain, Adrien Quatennens and Eric Coquerel) as well as one Centrist MP, John Lassalle.

The two groups joined together to march to the Ministry of Health, and blocked the road - although this latter action had reportedly not been planned.

Upon arrival, they chanted messages for the health minister, Agnès Buzyn - including one line that finished with “Hospitals are in the street” - before lying down on the ground to represent hospital workers “killing themselves on the job [because of the working conditions]”.

Lionel Lebourg, elected head of the SUD union at the psychiatric hospital Pierre-Janet du Havre (Le Havre, Normandy), said: “Working conditions have become abysmal. We operate on about 120% capacity, and we have been forced to put patients on mattresses on the floor [because there are not enough beds]. Sometimes there are not even enough mattresses, and patients have to spend the night on cushions.”

A group of protesters were received by the ministry in response to the protest, by what they called “deputy directors”.

Yet, they left the ministry complaining that “they had no [satisfactory] response”, according to the CGT representative from the hospital centre in Angers (Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire).

She said: “They told us that President Macron would make an announcement [on the issue] before the summer. But we are already protesting; the red line has been crossed.”

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