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France

Avignon Theatre Festival continues despite early cancellations

AFP/Bertrand Langlois

Avignon's famed arts festival is now in full swing after the two opening shows were cancelled on Friday due to strike action.

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The opening shows of the festival were cancelled on Friday due to a strike by performing artists and technicians protesting government plans to change their unemployment benefits.

Since then the festival has continued without major disruptions.

Christian Geschvindermann, of the CGT Spectacle Union told RFI that striking throughout the entire festival would not have been a good strategy this year.

“Cancelling the festival would be counterproductive. We did that in 2003, and we saw that once the law was adopted, and despite significant support, the government didn’t back down. We now know that cancelling all the festivals wouldn’t necessarily lead to changes to the proposal, even if that’s what we’re demanding. But there’s other ways to have our voices heard."

A similar dispute in 2003 forced Avignon's organizers to cancel a large swathe of the programme.

The festival attracts one hundred and twenty eight thousand theatre-goers to the southern French city each year.
 

 

 

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