In Paris, independent media counts put the number at 31,700; police said it was closer to 21,000; and one of the organising unions CGT, claimed there were as many as 80,000 present.
Protests in the so-called “marée populaire” prompted by opposition party La France Insoumise were organised across the country, including Nantes and Marseille, in the latter of which marched La France Insoumise MP Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
Marchers were said to range across a wide variety of demographics and professions, including students, retired people, hospital workers, and many others.
The main complaint was against the policies of the President, which are seen by many as being too right-wing.
Philippe Martinez, secretary general of the CGT, said: “This is gathering of those who want another kind of politics in this country; one that is turned towards those who work, rather than towards those who watch other people work.”
Representatives from the unions PCF, EELV, Génération.s, the NPA, CGT, Solidaires, the Magistrate Union, Sud PTT, and the Unef joined associations including Friends of the Earth and Movement for Peace.
One protester speaking to news source France Info said: “Without the protests, we will never succeed against Emmanuel Macron. We must succeed in improving support in our favour, and the way to do this is with unions, workers and associations, who do not appear in Macron’s politics at all.
“It is the politics of the rich, of the 1% [but] it is this gathering together that will make things change.”
Across the country, the interior minister said there had been 93,315 people marching in total, with CGT putting the number as high as 250,000 across the Hexagon.
Numbers were said to be far fewer than those who joined the May 5 protests that were dubbed “Fête à Macron” - also called for by Mélenchon and La France Insoumise.
However, one protester said this weekend should not be compared to May 5, as that was a unified, one-site protest; compared to this one which saw marching spread all over the country.
Overall, 43 people were arrested in Paris, with at least 26 kept in police custody for “aiming to damage property”.
Banks in particular boarded up their windows and added extra security to ATMs, some shops and restaurants such as McDonald’s closed, and at least one shop window was damaged during the protest.
One police officer was left in a “relatively urgent” condition in Paris, while in Nantes, protesters threw objects at police officers, who retaliated with water guns.
While those on the left hailed the protest as a success, the impact of the movement has been questioned by the right, with one tweet reading: “This #MareeHumaine (Human Tide) appears to be more of a small wave”.
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