Facing strikes, France's Macron defends economic vision

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Facing strikes, France's Macron defends economic vision
Lawyers and magistrates hold a placard with a portrait of French President Emmanuel Macron during a demonstration as part of a nation wide day of protest against a government draft law on Justice, in Paris, Wednesday April 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

PARIS (AP) — Train workers, hospitals staff, students, retirees, lawyers and magistrates: they are all protesting the way President Emmanuel Macron’s government is changing France.

Macron is appearing on national TF1 television Thursday to respond to the daily concerns of the French and defend his economic policies and tax changes.

The government’s strategy is to go fast and hope protest actions will lose momentum. But a bill aimed at preparing the national railway company SNCF to open up to competition has prompted strikes that have massively disrupted train traffic.

Polls show the majority of the French approve the changes to rail service — but a growing minority support the strikes. It’s shaping up as Macron’s biggest challenge as president so far.

Meanwhile, protests in other sectors are also building.