>> France is remembering protests that 50 years ago brought the country to its knees. And was doing so in a week that President Emmanuel Macron faces demonstrations in the streets over his plans to modernize the French economy. I'm Richard Lock Paris Deputy Bureau Chief. The May 68th social revolution began with students at a university near Paris.
They quickly spread across the country drawing in millions of striking workers. The movement nearly toppled the government who then leader President Charles de Gaulle. Now it is Macron who faces his own protests from rail workers, civil servants and pensioners as he marks the anniversary of his first year in power.
May 68 left France divided. Socialists hailed it as the emancipation of the left. For those on the right, it marked the collapse of French society. Some protesters today draw parallels between May 68 and the anti Macron demonstrations, but the mood in France is far from revolutionary. Workers are marching in traditional Labor Day rallies.
Rail workers are striking over Macron's plans to reform and modernize state railways. And hard left sympathizers will be holding their own demonstrations against a leader they dub the president of the rich. French unions are, however, a declining force here. And they have struggled to coalesce their movement against the Manuel McCall into a single force.
Even more importantly perhaps, many French still support McCall's most sensitive reforms. 50 years ago, the gold battled and handed out major concessions to the unions and students. Knows that if he caves in now, he'll be weakened for the rest of his mandate. And so far, he shows no sign of needing to do so.