Protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform saw clashes between police and demonstrators across France for the third night in a row on Saturday. Garbage cans and rubbish bins were set on fire in the capital Paris and police fired tear gas. Protests also broke out in other cities across the country, including Nantes, Marseille and Bordeaux.
People are rejecting the increase in the retirement age from 62 to 64 that President Emmanuel Macron pushed through on Thursday, bypassing a parliamentary vote. A broad alliance of France’s main trade unions has announced further measures to reverse the rise.
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets against the plans in recent weeks. On Friday, 61 people were temporarily arrested during the protests.
Garbage piles are piling up
As a result of the protests, mountains of waste are also piling up in the capital. There was also a strike in refineries on Saturday. About 37 percent of workers in TotalEnergies refineries and depots lost their jobs. Strikes also continued on the railways.
Raising the retirement age from 62 to 64
Macron justified raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 by saying that otherwise the pension system would collapse. Fearing defeat in parliament, his government pushed the plan through without a vote, citing an article in the constitution that allows it. Raising the retirement age is one of the president’s most important projects.
Observers had said the evasion of the vote was evidence that Macron’s ability to organize majorities for reform projects had suffered. This should now also affect future projects, it said.
The protests of the past three days are reminiscent of the “yellow vest” rallies that broke out in late 2018 due to high fuel prices and forced Macron to partially reverse his policies.
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