“We risk the disappearance of our professional diplomacy,” a group of 500 diplomats, wrote in a commentary published last week in Le Monde newspaper. “Today, (diplomatic) agents ... are convinced it is the very existence of the ministry that is now being put into question.”

Members of the French diplomatic corps dropped their traditional reserve on Thursday to go on a rare strike, angered by a planned reform that would open up top posts to appointees who have never served in the diplomatic corps. It was the second such strike in nearly 20 years, reports the AP.

About 100 diplomats dropped the veil of invisibility that often defines their work to demonstrate in full view of the imposing Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs that is the home base for the foreign service. In overseas posts, ranging from Tokyo to the Middle East and Washington, numerous diplomats, including some ambassadors, honored the day-long strike.

They want President Emmanuel Macron to scrap a plan to merge career diplomats with a larger body of civil servants, starting in January, or at least discuss the plan with them.

The action, announced by Macron in an April decree, will reportedly affect about 800 diplomats. Opponents claim that’s just the beginning.

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