In France, some protests over retirement age erupt into riots


Scattered protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans To raise the retirement age in France Held in Paris on Saturday from 62 to 64, uncollected rubbish continued to stink in the streets of the French capital amid a strike by sanitation workers.

Mainly non-violent protests took place in various cities, including Nantes and Marseille, where protesters overtook police and occupied main train stations for about 15 minutes. In the eastern city of Besançon, hundreds of demonstrators lit braziers and burned voter cards.

In Paris, an eerie calm has returned to much of the French capital after two straight nights of chaos. Police banned gatherings on the Champs-Élysées and the elegant Place de la Concorde, and protesters threw a statue of President Macron into a bonfire on Friday night as crowds cheered.

Demonstration in front of the French National Assembly
Demonstrators gather in front of the National Assembly in Paris, France, before the French government pushes pension reform through parliament without a vote. March 16, 2023.

Michelle Stopach via Getty Images

Thousands of protesters gathered at Place Italia, a public square in southern Paris, on Saturday night, and some set fire to trash cans.

Protesters are trying to pressure lawmakers to overthrow Macron’s government and doom the unpopular retirement age hike he is imposing without a vote in parliament.

Right-wing and left-wing lawmakers filed a no-confidence motion against her cabinet on Friday after Prime Minister Elizabeth Born used a special constitutional power to avoid a chaotic vote in the House of Commons. will be voted on Monday.

Some Parisians who went out to buy baguettes over the weekend blamed Macron’s government for the smoke wafting from a pile of rubbish near a bakery in Paris’ 12th arrondissement.

“The government should change its position and listen to the voice of the people. What is happening now is very serious. Radicalization is on the rise,” said psychologist Isabelle Bergueliette, 64. . “The government bears a huge responsibility for this,” she said.

The district mayor, Emmanuel Pierre-Marie, has expressed concern in her neighborhood about the consequences of uncollected trash, which has become a visual and olfactory symbol of action to defeat the president’s pension reform plan, I was out at dawn.

“Food waste is a priority for us as it is what brings pests to the surface,” said Pierre-Marie. “We are very sensitive to the situation. In addition, we will prioritize places of greatest concern, such as food markets.”

More labor strikes were planned for Monday in many sectors, from transport to energy. The Civil Aviation Authority has requested the cancellation of 30% of flights at Orly, Paris’ second airport, and 20% at Marseille.

The trade union confederation CGT warned that at least two refineries could close from Monday. Industry Minister Roland Rescue said the government could recruit workers to avoid fuel shortages.

President Macron has argued that it is necessary to require French people to work for two more years in order to revitalize the French economy and prevent deficits in the pension system as the population ages.

Laurent Berger, head of the moderate CFDT union, said retirement reforms “must be withdrawn”.

“We condemn violence. …But look at the anger. It’s very strong, even among our ranks,” he told RMC radio.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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