Over a million demonstrate in France to say ‘no’ to Macron’s pension reformBreaking

January 20, 2023

More than a million people took part in demonstrations across France, halting trains and cutting electricity production, in protest against government plans to raise the retirement age by two years to 64. The government said a total of 1.12 million people had taken part in the demonstration, including 80,000 at a march in Paris, which saw police clash briefly with some protesters.

The stoppages are a major test for President Emmanuel Macron, who said on Thursday that his pension reform plan, which opinion polls show is hugely unpopular, was “just and responsible” and had to be carried out. Protesters disagreed. “It’s salaries and pensions that must be increased, not the retirement age,” read one large banner carried by workers that opened the protest march in Tours, in western France.

“I’ll have to prepare my walking frame if the reform goes through,” said Isabelle, 53, a social worker, saying her job was too tough to add two more years. The turnout was quite a large number, even by French standards, and more than the turnout at a first rally against a previous pension reform in 2019. This combination of pictures made on Thursday shows protesters posing with placards during a rally called by French trade unions in Toulouse, southwestern France.

The leader of the hardline CGT union, Philippe Martinez, said more than 2 million took part. It is common in France that police and union estimates vary widely. Either way, the turnout is a success for the unions, political analysts say. Police briefly fired tear gas on the fringes of the Paris protest when black-clad, masked individuals in hoodies hurled projectiles at their lines. About 30 people were arrested, police said.

Credit : Independent News Pakistan-INP