France: Protests against pension reform turn violent again (video)

France: Protests against pension reform turn violent again (video)

Protests against pension reform turn violent again: “Very serious threat”

Watch the video: protests against pension reforms in France turn violent again.

STORY: In France, nationwide protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform turned violent again on Tuesday. The demonstrations in several cities began peacefully in the morning. Later, however, a bank branch in Nantes was set on fire. Vehicles, barricades and rubbish were also set on fire. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin had warned the day before that the protests could pose a “very serious threat to public order”. A total of around 13,000 police officers were to be deployed during the day. Unions accuse the government of refusing to engage in dialogue on the reform. A few days ago, hundreds of thousands of angry French people took to the streets against the planned measures, such as raising the retirement age from 62 to 64. Macron’s government initiated the reform by using a procedural trick that bypassed parliament and thus significantly aggravated popular displeasure. According to the government, the pension reform should come into force by the end of this year.


The demonstrations in several French cities began peacefully at first. Later, however, a bank branch in Nantes was set on fire. It is feared that the nationwide protests will continue to escalate.

On Tuesday, around 740,000 people across the country took to the streets on the tenth day of action against the pension reform in France. Riots broke out in the capital Paris in the late afternoon: some black-clad, masked demonstrators set garbage cans on fire and looted a supermarket, as reporters from the AFP news agency observed. At least two demonstrators were injured. Security forces used tear gas. The police in Paris spoke of 93,000 demonstrators, while the CGT union reported 450,000 participants in the French capital. According to the police in the afternoon, there were 22 arrests. The prefecture announced that a total of 10,000 people had been checked.

France: 13,000 security forces deployed

The Interior Ministry had deployed 13,000 security forces across the country, including 5,500 in Paris. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin emphasized that these are more than ever since the pension protests began. Numerous means of transport were canceled again on Tuesday. The Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles remained closed. In Lorient, western France, demonstrators blocked railway tracks with burning barricades. Because of the ongoing strikes in the refineries and fuel depots, 15 percent of the petrol stations no longer offer all types of fuel, and seven percent no longer have any fuel at all.

According to the Ministry of Education, a good eight percent of teachers took part in the strike. Nationwide there were protests at 62 universities and colleges. Union boss Laurent Berger called for the appointment of a mediator and for the reform to be suspended. “We’ll take a month and a half and say that raising the retirement age to 64 will not be implemented for the time being,” he suggested. That would be an appropriate “gesture of pacification,” he told broadcaster France Inter.

President Macron wants to start talking again

French President Emmanuel Macron had emphasized the previous evening at a meeting with representatives of his government majority that he wanted to talk to the unions again – but not about the key points of the reform. “The pension law is behind us,” said government spokesman Olivier Véran. The Constitutional Council is currently dealing with the reform and its decision is expected in about three weeks. A striking number of young people were among the demonstrators – probably also as a reaction to the use of force by the security forces during the most recent riots. Paris Prefect Laurent Nuñez defended the police action. “We use violence when people dressed in black and masked start smashing shops,” he said. “We always proceed with moderation,” he emphasized. He emphasized that there was no question of abolishing the much-criticized motorcycle units.

Watch the video: Serious clashes during demonstrations against a water reservoir in France.

Two protesters in a coma

A million people took to the streets last Thursday. Since the pension reform was passed just over a week ago, the anger of many demonstrators has been directed at the government’s actions, which have relied on a much-criticized article in the constitution. The latest riots during protests against a controversial water reservoir in western France had also heated up the atmosphere. Two protesters seriously injured in Sainte-Soline are still in a coma. The protests were directed against a plan to pump out the already scarce groundwater for a reservoir so that the fields can be irrigated in summer.


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