French leftists protest to clean up government corruption

May 5, 2013 at 8:40 PM
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PARIS, May 5 (UPI) -- A coalition of left-wing parties said 180,000 people rallied in Paris Sunday, demanding reforms to French President Francois Hollande's Socialist government.

The Left Front has demanded political system reforms in the wake of broken promises and scandals under Hollande, Radio France Internationale reported.

The protest came a day before Hollande's first anniversary in office. He has some of the lowest approval ratings of any French president after a year of leading the nation, Radio France Internationale reported.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, the Left Front party leader, put together the rally to clean up politics and create a "Sixth Republic" -- a new and improved country.

"We do not want the world of finance in power! We do not accept the politics of austerity," Melenchon said at the rally.

Protesters at the Bastille waving flags attached to brooms, echoed Melenchon's rally cry, the radio station said.

Jeremie Ozog, who participated in the protest, said the flags were "a symbol for how they want to clean up a corrupt political system."

Recent revelations from a mass governmental transparency drive surprised French citizens with the amount of wealth among ministers, RFI said. That, along with 11 percent unemployment, governmental failure to lower the budget deficit, political corruption and bad economic news, has caused many French to lose faith in their leadership, the radio network reported.

Socialists said Melenchon has divided the French political left, and the far-left said the socialists are cutting them out of decision-making, RFI said.

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