Tuesday, 28 Mar 2023

Paris police ban gatherings on key sites as French pension protests grow

Paris police ban gatherings on key sites as French pension protests grow


Paris police ban gatherings on key sites as French pension protests grow

Protests were under way or planned on Saturday in cities including Bordeaux, Nantes, Marseille, Brest and elsewhere in Paris after unions called for a determined show of resistance ahead of a ninth day of nationwide industrial action planned for Thursday.

Macron resorted to controversial executive powers to force through his bill on Thursday after concluding the government was not certain to win a national assembly vote on the changes, which include raising the eligible retirement age from 62 to 64.

While the street protests have been largely peaceful, riot police fired teargas and clashed with demonstrators on Friday night in Paris, where 61 people were arrested after a fire was lit on the Place de la Concorde near the national assembly.

In the south-eastern city of Lyon, 36 people were arrested on Friday night after trying to break into a town hall building and set fire to it, local authorities said.

Although most European countries have already raised their retirement age to well past 64, critics in France say the changes are unfair on those who start working at a young age in physically hard jobs, and parents who interrupt their careers.

Opposition MPs have tabled two motions of no confidence in the government that are due to be debated in parliament on Monday afternoon, with the aim of garnering enough support to topple the cabinet and ensure the law is repealed.

The prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, and her government are expected to survive the votes, which, to succeed, would need the support of at least half of the MPs from the main centre-right opposition party, Les Républicans.

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