Tensions, clashes and demonstrations continue in France after the approval of the Pension Reform sought by President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron and the government led by Elisabeth Borne.
Macron defended the choice in a TV interview but the wave of protest in the country with demonstrations and clashes across France has not subsided.
Meanwhile, the visit of Charles III to Paris scheduled for the coming days is also postponed. On Tuesday, March 28, new massive mobilizations are expected.
France, protests in all cities over Macron’s choice to reform pensions
Emmanuel Macron’s Pension Reform among other measures contains a main one. Namely, the lengthening of the retirement age from 62 to 64 in France.
A decision that, Macron explained, brings France closer to other countries in terms of the age at which one can leave work.
Macron decided to force his hand and used Article 49.3 of the Constitution, which provides for the possibility of passing the Reform even without a parliamentary vote, to approve it.
Two motions of censure were presented that if passed would have brought down the Pension Reform and also the government. But both were rejected.
One of them lacked 9 votes to reach an absolute majority and block the Pension Reform and bring down the government at the same time. Indeed, the “transpartisan” no-confidence motion voted by all oppositions to Elisabeth Borne’s government did not gather the necessary 287 votes. Nine votes were missing for the no-confidence, which was voted on by 278 MPs. 295 MPs did not participate in the vote.
France, clashes between protesters and police forces in several cities
French labor unions have been on the warpath for weeks and this wave of protest shows no sign of abating. Thursday’s day was marked by many scuffles, especially in Paris, Rouen, and Rennes.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin reported 172 arrests across the country and 149 wounded in the police ranks. Police headquarters in Paris said 103 people were arrested in the capital, where 140 garbage fires were reported.
In Bordeaux, the portico of the city hall was set on fire. In Nantes, protesters broke into the administrative court, looting the reception desk. Several businesses were damaged. In Lorient, the police station and police were targeted by protesters, mostly young people with hidden faces. The prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, deemed all forms of violence “unacceptable.”
France, trade union demonstrations
Meanwhile, yesterday was another day of mobilization against the Reform passed by the government that raises the retirement age. Clashes between protesters and police occurred in several cities. For the Cgt, the main French union, there were 800,000 protesters in Paris.
The strikes and demonstrations “are a response to the incomprehensible stubbornness of Emmanuel Macron,” say the unions. They continue, “The strong rejection of this project is legitimate and must continue,” before calling a new national day of mobilization on Tuesday, March 28.
France, Pension reform sets country ablaze
Emmanuel Macron reiterated on television that he wants to go all the way with the reform by ruling out “withdrawing” the law that has yet to be enacted.
Macron explicitly expressed his desire that the law could be passed within the year. At the moment, the street demonstrations and the incandescent climate in the country do not seem to be leading to second thoughts within the executive.
The images of Place de la Bastille packed with demonstrators against the pension reform are eloquent, and it is the highest number ever reached by the union since the beginning of this protest situation.
Unrest also continues in schools and universities across the country. Many high schools have been occupied to protest pension reform.
France, what happens in the coming days in the country? King Charles III’s visit postponed
Meanwhile from the point of view of France’s international relations there is to report that the planned visit of King Charles III is postponed. The British King was supposed to be in France from March 26 to 29.
The French presidency added in a statement that it intends, with London, to reschedule the visit “as soon as possible and on terms that correspond to our friendly relationship.”