HomeMiddle EastProtests in France amid anger over Macron's pension reform

Protests in France amid anger over Macron’s pension reform

Strikes and demonstrations are taking place at refineries across France in anger against the government raising the state retirement age.

Refinery strikes have been taking place across France, and more demonstrations are taking place across the country due to widespread anger at the government for raising the state retirement age without a parliamentary vote.

The growing unrest, combined with the accumulation of rubbish on the streets of Paris after garbage workers joined the action, has left President Emmanuel Macron with the most serious challenge to his authority since the so-called protests of the ” yellow vests”, which began at the end of 2018.

Thirty-seven percent of operating staff at TotalEnergies refineries and warehouses, at sites including Feyzin in southeastern France and Normandy in the north, were on strike on Saturday, a company spokesman said.

Continuous strikes continued on the railways.

Riot police clashed with protesters on Friday night in Paris as a demonstration took place at Place de la Concorde near the National Assembly building. Sixty-one people were arrested.

This prompted the Paris prefecture to ban rallies on the Place de la Concorde and the nearby Champs-Élysées. Police said they were doing so “because of the serious risks of disturbing public order”.

However, another rally was expected on Saturday at the Place d’Italie in southern Paris.

Elsewhere in the French capital, a group of students and activists from the Permanent Revolution collective briefly invaded the Forum des Halles shopping mall, waving banners calling for a general strike and chanting: “Paris, rise up! Get up”, they showed videos on social networks.

People marched in towns and cities across the country after regional unions called for a weekend of protests. BFM television also showed footage of ongoing demonstrations in cities including Marseille, Compiègne and Nantes.

“There is no place for violence. Parliamentary democracy must be respected,” the Minister of Digital Transition and Telecommunications, Jean-Noel Barrot, told Sud Radio.

Ariane Laget, 36, was among some 200 people who demonstrated in the small southern town of Lodeve.

“We are tired. We feel that we are being trampled and no one is listening to us,” she told the AFP news agency.

A broad alliance of France’s main unions has said it will continue to mobilize to try to force a U-turn on the pension changes. A nationwide industrial day of action is planned for Thursday.

People protest in Nantes, France (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

Eight days of nationwide protests since mid-January and many local industrial actions have so far been largely peaceful, but the unrest of the past three days is reminiscent of the yellow vest protests, which erupted over high oil prices. fuel and forced Macron to adopt a partial U. -Activate a carbon tax.

Macron’s reform raises the retirement age by two years to 64, which the government says is essential to ensure the system does not go bankrupt.

The government has said the change is necessary to prevent the system from falling into deficit and bring France in line with its European neighbors, where the legal retirement age is often higher.

But critics say the changes are unfair to people who start working at a young age in physically difficult jobs and women who interrupt their careers to raise children.

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