France pension protest held on outskirts of Cannes Film Festival

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Protests over pension reforms have rocked France in recent months, but demonstrations have been kept largely at bay at one of the country’s glitziest events, the Cannes Film Festival.

On Sunday, dozens of protesters gathered in Cannes to oppose the retirement reforms pushed through parliament by President Emmanuel Macron’s government.

Those protests, however, were far removed from the central hub of the festival, the Palais des Festivals, or Cannes’ seaside boulevard, the Croisette.

Instead, they gathered on the edge of the city, on the Boulevard Carnot.

France Cannes Protest
Protesters toss a puppet depicting President Emmanuel Macron during a demonstration in Cannes (Daniel Cole/AP)

Ahead of the festival, local authorities in Cannes ordered a ban on rallies throughout much of Cannes.

That move was part of increasing attempts throughout France to prohibit demonstrations in some high-profile locations.

Unions have called for a new round of nationwide demonstrations on June 6.

The ban has kept Cannes’ famous red carpet clear of demonstrations and prevented one of the most divisive issues in France from disturbing the highly orchestrated flow of the festival.

One exception was on Friday.

France Cannes Protest
Demonstrators protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform (Daniel Cole/AP)

Hotel and catering workers held up a banner reading “No to pension reforms”.

Labour strife has coloured much of this year’s Cannes, which is happening while Hollywood screenwriters are on strike.

Film and TV writers are seeking higher pay, reforms for the streaming era and safeguards against the use of artificial intelligence.

Juror Paul Dano said he planned to join the picket lines when he returned home.

Sean Penn called the studios’ stance on AI “a human obscenity”.

The board for SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, earlier this week voted to ask its members for strike authorisation in its own negotiations with studios for a new contract.

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