France gears up for May Day protests

STORY: Like many on the left, 60-year-old nursing assistant Isabelle-Touria Boumhi says backing either Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen in France's presidential runoff last Sunday (April 24) would have been choosing "between the plague and cholera."

In the end, she didn't vote.

But instead, she is preparing to take part in May Day protests on Sunday (May 1).

"I will continue the fight and take to the streets until I stop working."

"It's the only way. Because the struggle is the only path we have left to obtain something."

This opinion foreshadows what a newly re-elected Macron may expect when he presses ahead with pro-business reforms, including a plan to push back retirement age.

Boumhi says she will take to the streets as often as needed to block this.

Her gross salary of just under 2,000 euros - around 2,100 US dollars - is spent on housing and feeding her and her 22-year-old daughter, who's a student, and she says she must count every cent.

The cost of living was the main theme in the presidential election campaign and looks set to be equally prominent ahead of June legislative elections.

Elections that Macron's party and its allies must win if he's to be able to implement his policies.

His current government put together price caps on energy price increases and he's promised further steps to try and protect consumers' purchasing power.

But inflation reached a new high of 5.4% in April, while growth stalled in the first quarter.

Philippe Martinez, the head of the hard-line CGT union, will also be in the May Day rallies on Sunday.

He says the government has got to deal with the purchasing power problem by raising wages.

The CGT says it will call on workers to keep pressure on Macron in the streets and with strikes after the May Day rallies as well.

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