Police conflict with pension demonstrators for second evening in Paris | European Union Information


The protests over pension reform are the gravest problem to President Macron’s authority since 2018 ‘Yellow Vest’ demonstrations.

Riot police clashed with protesters for a second evening in Paris as demonstrations continued in opposition to the federal government’s plans to elevate the French pension age.

The rising unrest for the reason that begin of the 12 months, which has resulted in a wave of strikes and garbage piling up on the streets of the French capital, has left President Emmanuel Macron with the gravest problem to his authority for the reason that so-called “Gilets Jaunes” or “Yellow Vest” protests of December 2018.

Police fired tear gasoline on Friday evening to cope with crowd dysfunction as protesters gathered within the Place de la Concorde, close to the Assemblee Nationale parliament constructing.

“Macron, Resign!” chanted some demonstrators, as they squared as much as a line of riot police.

The protest at Paris’s elegant Place de Concorde began with a festive spirit as a number of thousand demonstrators chanted, danced and lit an enormous bonfire. However it quickly degenerated right into a scene echoing Thursday evening as riot police charged and used tear gasoline to empty the sq. whereas some protesters lobbed fireworks and threw paving stones at police.

On Thursday evening, police additionally baton-charged the crowds and used water cannons whereas small teams, then set avenue fires in stylish neighbourhoods close by.

French Inside Minister Gérald Darmanin advised radio station RTL that 310 folks have been arrested in a single day, most of them in Paris.

Scattered protests have been additionally held in cities round France – from a march in Bordeaux to a rally in Toulouse.

Port officers in Calais briefly stopped ferries from crossing the English Channel to Dover. Some college campuses in Paris have been blocked and protesters occupied a high traffic ring street across the French capital.

Paris garbage collectors have prolonged their strike for a 12th day, with piles of foul-smelling garbage rising within the streets. Hanging sanitation staff additionally continued to dam Europe’s largest incineration website and two different websites that deal with garbage from the capital.

Some yellow vest activists, who mounted formidable protests in opposition to Macron’s financial insurance policies throughout his first time period, have been amongst those that relayed Friday’s Paris protest on social media. Police say that “radicalised yellow vests” are amongst troublemakers at protest marches.

The French are deeply connected to conserving the official retirement age at 62, which is among the many lowest in OECD international locations.

Macron’s administration used a particular constitutional energy to push via the pension reforms which can, amongst different issues, steadily improve the retirement age from 62 to 64.

CGT union chief Philippe Martinez and Laurent Berger, secretary common of French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT), maintain a banner with different demonstrators in Paris, France, March 11, 2023 [File: Benoit Tessier/Reuters]

Greater than eight out of 10 French individuals are sad with the federal government’s resolution to skip the vote in parliament on altering the retirement age and 65 % need strikes and protests to proceed, a Toluna Harris Interactive ballot for RTL radio confirmed.

Commerce unions organising the opposition to the reforms have urged demonstrators to stay peaceable throughout extra strikes and marches within the days forward. They’ve additionally known as on folks to go away faculties, factories, refineries and different workplaces to pressure Macron to desert his plan to make the French work two extra years, till 64, earlier than receiving a full pension.

Left-wing and centrist opposition legislators filed a movement of no-confidence in parliament on Friday afternoon. However though Macron misplaced his absolute majority in France’s decrease home in elections final 12 months, there was little likelihood this might undergo – until a shock alliance of legislators from all sides is fashioned.

Going forward and not using a vote “is a denial of democracy … a complete denial of what has been occurring within the streets for a number of weeks”, 52-year-old psychologist Nathalie Alquier mentioned in Paris.

“It’s simply insufferable.”

Protests are deliberate for this weekend and a brand new day of nationwide industrial motion is scheduled for subsequent Thursday. Lecturers’ unions known as for strikes subsequent week, which may disrupt the emblematic Baccalaureate high-school exams.

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