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Protests Engulf France

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

But opponents also object to his law-and-order agenda and his attitude toward minorities. NPR's Philip Reeves reports from Paris.

PHILIP REEVES: Unidentified Man: (Speaking foreign language).

REEVES: Eloise Veronesi(ph), a 27-year-old tourist guide, was at today's protests.

ELOISE VERONESI: We are not happy about Sarkozy here, not only about retirement but about human rights, about immigration, about economy. About a lot of things, we are very unhappy.

REEVES: The French left wing is outraged and this weekend launched a week of protests. Conception(ph) works as a librarian. She declined to give her full name for fear of reprisals at work.

CONCEPTION: Julie Biro is from the Free Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for development:

JULIE BIRO: This is an easy target. They are very few people, very marginalized and very threatened, very anxious about their situation, feeling very insecure.

REEVES: This number didn't include a young Roma woman called Isabelle(ph). She's just 15, and she's come alone to Paris to beg because she says she can earn more here than back home. Her income is between $5 and $12 a day, she says. She doesn't like Sarkozy's proposals.

ISABELLE: (Through translator) Sarkozy is a bad man. He doesn't want Roma come here.

REEVES: Philip Reeves, NPR News, Paris. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering South America. Previously, he served as NPR's correspondent covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.

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