Controversial pension reform
Demolished cars, burning garbage: Violent protests after a no-confidence vote in France
The controversial pension reform in France has been passed, but the topic is far from off the table. Many citizens are protesting – and the opposition does not want to admit defeat either. A trail of devastation was left behind in some places in Paris.
Even after the controversial pension reform was passed, France has not come to rest. After nationwide protests, 287 people were arrested, 234 of them in the capital Paris alone. The AFP news agency learned this from police circles on Tuesday. In Paris, small groups of demonstrators marched through central parts of the city and set fire to waste containers, bicycles and various other objects. According to police circles, the fire brigade in the French capital had to deploy 240 times. Eleven police officers were injured, the broadcaster BFMTV reported, citing police sources. According to Franceinfo, there were also spontaneous demonstrations in other cities such as Saint-Étienne, Strasbourg, Amiens, Caen and Toulouse. President Emmanuel Macron wants to meet Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and the majority leaders of the parliamentary groups this Tuesday, as the Élysée Palace announced in the evening. In Paris alone, around 2,000 police officers were on duty, BFMTV reported. Some demonstrators carried placards with inscriptions such as “We will also use violence”, “To arms” or “Macron resign”. Politicians from both right and left have already called for Prime Minister Borne to resign.
France’s controversial pension reform
The reform to gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 years was passed on Monday evening after two motions of no confidence tabled by the opposition were rejected. It is considered one of President Macron’s most important projects. There have been repeated strikes and violent protests against the reform in France for weeks. Last Thursday, the government made a last-minute decision to quash the reform with a special article in the constitution without a vote by the National Assembly. The opposition then submitted the no-confidence motions. It is expected that left and right-wing nationalists will appeal to the Constitutional Council on Tuesday in the dispute over the reform. They could have the government’s actions checked there, which had shortened the debate time for the reform in Parliament by means of an accelerated procedure and incorporated the reform into a budget text. In addition, the left want to try to prevent the reform with a referendum.
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More strikes and protests planned
Further strikes and protests against the reform are already planned for Thursday. The unions called on Monday evening to increase mobilization until the reform is withdrawn, according to a call from the CGT union. 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. At the age of 67 there is then a pension without any deductions, regardless of how long it has been paid in – the government wants to keep this, even if the number of years required to pay in for a full pension is to increase more quickly. She wants to increase the monthly minimum pension to around 1,200 euros. With the reform, the government wants to close an impending gap in the pension fund.