Saturday, June 10, 2023

Protests in French cities as fierce pensions debate continues

Some demonstrators set fire to rubbish bins and carried placards calling on Mr Macron to resign or threatening to take arms against the government.

• March 21, 2023
French Protesters [Credit: Anadolu Agency]

Police in Paris reportedly arrested some 142 people in the French capital overnight during street protests that followed the finalisation of the government’s pensions reforms.

This is with the fierce political row showing little sign of abating.

Eleven police officers were injured, broadcaster BFMTV reported, citing police sources.

Media reports said demonstrations also broke out in other cities, including Saint-Étienne, Strasbourg, Amiens, Caen and Toulouse.

President Emmanuel Macron planned to meet Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and the leaders of various political groups on Tuesday to tackle the fallout from the political developments the previous day.

The government on Monday survived two no-confidence votes triggered by its decision to force through the highly-debated legislation without a vote in the lower house of parliament.

About 2,000 police officers were deployed in Paris alone to tackle the unrest, BFMTV reported.

Some demonstrators set fire to rubbish bins and carried placards calling on Mr Macron to resign or threatening to take arms against the government.

Politicians from both the right and the left have called for Borne to resign.

The reform to gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 was passed on Monday evening after the rejection of two motions of no confidence tabled by the opposition.

However, the outcome of Monday’s votes was narrower than expected by many, in what was seen as a blow to the government.

Mr Macron said that currently, the retirement age in France is 62.

However, on average, retirement begins later; those who have not paid in long enough for a full pension have to work longer.

The reform aimed to close a looming gap in France’s pension fund.

There have been repeated strikes and violent protests against the reform for weeks.

Further strikes and protests are planned for Thursday.

Opposition parties are expected to refer the dispute to a constitutional council on Tuesday. 


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