France: Arrests during violent protests against pension reform

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Riot in France over Macron’s pension reform – more than 200 arrests in Paris alone

Clashes in Paris


With a formal move, French President Macron got his pension reform through parliament. The price he pays for it is high. Violent protests erupted across the country. And politically, the project is not quite through yet.

More than 200 people have been arrested in Paris during violent protests against pension reforms in France. There were 217 arrests, the police said in the capital on Friday night. Previously, she had used tear gas and water cannons in central Paris against demonstrators who had lit a fire on the Place de la Concorde.

Several thousand demonstrators had gathered on the traditional square in front of the French Parliament. Ultimately, it was cleared in a massive police operation.

There were also renewed riots during demonstrations in other French cities. In Marseille, demonstrators devastated several shops and set garbage cans on fire. According to an AFP correspondent, they shouted “Down with the state”. According to AFP reporters, there were also clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Nantes, Rennes, Lille, Grenoble and Lyon.

Protests in France have been going on for months

The protests against the reform planned by President Emmanuel Macron, which primarily provides for the gradual increase in the retirement age from 62 to 64, have been going on for months. The anger of the protesters was further fueled on Thursday by a government move allowing the reform to be passed without a vote in the National Assembly. When Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced that she would resort to Article 49.3 of the Constitution, tumult broke out in the National Assembly. The trade unions, for their part, called for the protests to spread.

Nevertheless, what is probably President Emmanuel Macron’s most important project is not yet completely dry. No-confidence motions against the government by the opposition are expected by Friday. Left and right-wing nationalists have already announced corresponding applications. These must be available by Friday afternoon at the latest, and will be voted on in the coming days. However, it is considered unlikely that the government will be overthrown. The President of the Républicains, Éric Ciotti, has already stated that his group will not support a motion of no confidence. It remains to be seen whether all MPs will comply.

Currently, the retirement age in France is 62 years. In fact, retirement begins later on average: those who have not paid in long enough to receive a full pension work longer.


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