Pension reform in France: protests and arrests
Bei protests against the pension reform clashes between police and demonstrators broke out in France on Saturday for the third night in a row. Police across the country arrested 169 people who had gotten into arguments with officers. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told French television station BFMTV on Sunday morning. Of these, 122 people were taken into custody in Paris alone.
On Saturday, demonstrators in the capital Paris set garbage cans on fire and the police used tear gas. Protests also broke out in other cities across the country, including Nantes, Marseille and Bordeaux.
People are opposed to raising the retirement age from 62 to 64, the President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, bypassing a parliamentary vote. A broad alliance of the main French unions has announced further action to reverse the increase. In the past few weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets against the plans. On Friday, 61 people were temporarily arrested during the protests.
No-confidence motions could spell end of government
As a result of the protests, mountains of rubbish are piling up in the capital. In addition, oil refineries were on strike and railway employees continued their strikes. Macron justified raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 by saying that otherwise the pension system would collapse. Out of fear of a defeat in parliament, his government pushed through the plan without a vote and invoked an article in the constitution that allows this. Raising the retirement age is one of the President’s most important projects. On Monday, Elisabeth Borne’s government is threatened with being voted out by two motions of no confidence.
Observers had said that bypassing the vote was evidence that Macron’s ability to organize majorities for reform projects had suffered. This should now also affect future projects, it said.