Pension Reform Demand Strikes Cripple France as Millions March Against Macron’s Policies



More than one million folks marched in France Thursday to protest pension reforms, with some demonstrators clashing with police in Paris, as strikes disrupted public transport, colleges and far of the civil service.

The inside ministry put the full variety of protesters marching in opposition to President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to increase the retirement age at 1.2 million, together with 80,000 in Paris.

The hard-left CGT union stated there had been over two million folks at protests throughout France, and 400,000 within the capital alone.

Another new day of motion is deliberate for January 31.

Around the Bastille space of Paris, some demonstrators hurled bottles, bins and smoke grenades at police who responded with tear fuel and charged to disperse the troublemakers, in response to AFP journalists on the scene.

As the march wound down within the night, teams of younger protesters additionally clashed with safety forces on the huge Nation plaza in jap Paris, setting hearth to a number of bicycles and smashing bus stops.

Police stated 44 folks have been arrested on weapon or violence costs, principally from among the many radical “Black Blocs” group, who wore masks, helmets and black clothes. Officers managed to split off the group, who numbered around a thousand, from the main demonstration, said police.

No major violent incidents were reported elsewhere in France.

The pensions plan, presented by Macron’s government last week, would raise the retirement age for most from 62 — among the lowest in the EU — to 64 and would increase the years of contributions required for a full pension.

‘Die on the job’

France’s trade unions had called for a mass mobilisation, the first time they have united since 12 years ago, when the retirement age was hiked to 62 from 60.

Police said earlier they had prepared for 550,000 to 750,000 protesters in all of France, including up to 80,000 in the capital.

Macron, speaking from a French-Spanish summit in Barcelona, defended what he called a “fair and responsible reform”.

But demonstrators disagreed, together with Hamidou, 43, who joined the protest in central Paris.

“Macron needs us to die on the job,” he said. “We get up very early. Some colleagues wake up at 3 am. Working until 64 is too much.”

Nearby, 15-year-old Charlie Perrin decried an ever-retreating retirement age.

“The method issues are going, we’ll be virtually unable to stroll or stay by the point we’re given the appropriate to retire,” she said.

Almost one public-sector worker in three was on strike by midday, the government estimated.

Reform ‘unjust’

In the northwestern region of Brittany, carpenter and roofer Laurent Quere, 42, said he was fiercely opposed to having to work longer.

“What client in their right mind would employ us on a work site aged 64?” he stated.

The strikes disrupted public transport within the capital, closing one metro line and forcing others to run lowered companies. Large numbers of trains have been cancelled throughout France.

Many mother and father have been pressured to take care of their youngsters as round 40 % of main college lecturers and greater than 30 % within the secondary system walked out, in response to official estimates.

Unions put the strike participation a lot increased, at 70 and 65 % respectively.

Strikers at state-owned power supplier EDF stated they’d lowered electrical energy output by 7,000 megawatts, whereas grid operator RTE put the determine at 5,000 MW — sufficient to energy two cities the scale of Paris.

But the CGT union stated the discount would have “no impression on customers”.

CGT chief Philippe Martinez told broadcaster Public Senat earlier Thursday the pension reform “bundles together everyone’s dissatisfaction” with the federal government. “We all agree that the reform is unjust.”

With Paris metros and buses in disarray, basketball fans were expected to have problems getting to the sold-out NBA Paris Game between the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls in the northeast of the capital in the evening.

Two-thirds opposed

Opinion polls show that around two-thirds of French people oppose raising the retirement age, a move that comes amid high inflation and with the country still recovering from the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Macron’s last attempt at pension reform in 2019 ended a year later when Covid-19 hit Europe. But it had already prompted the longest strike on the Paris transport network in three decades.

The 45-year-old former banker vowed to press ahead with plans to push back the retirement age during his re-election campaign last year, pointing to forecasts that the system could fall into deep deficits at the end of the decade.

But unions are suspicious of the overhaul, and want to protect those who started working at a young age or have been toiling in physically demanding jobs.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 employees and is printed from a syndicated information company feed)


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