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© Reuters. A demonstrator holds a placard which reads © Reuters. A demonstrator holds a placard which reads “Young people will not give up” as he attends a national strike and protest against the government’s labour reforms in Nantes

PARIS (Reuters) – French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Wednesday that he would pay attention to demonstrations against his planned labor reforms but pledged to push through with them, a day after protests took place nationwide.

Thousands of hard-left trade unionists marched through French cities on Tuesday to protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s labor law reforms, although turnout appeared lower than at demonstrations in previous years.

After weeks of negotiations, the government last month set out measures including a cap on payouts for dismissals judged unfair, and greater freedom for companies to hire and fire.

Philippe said that while he was paying close attention to the protests, the election this year had nevertheless shown a willingness by French citizens to back the reforms.

“I am listening and I am paying attention. But let me allow myself to state that the French, when they vote, also have a right to be treated with respect. And the reform that we are putting in place, it was announced by the President at the time of the election,” he told France 2 television.

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