Hundreds of Frenchmen returned to the streets on Thursday to protest against the pension reform of the government of the president Emmanuel Macronin the eleventh great day of protests organized by the unions, which registered a slight decrease in participation and some incidents in Paris.
In the prelude to the final decision of the Constitutional Council -the body that interprets the Magna Carta, which on April 14 will have to validate or not the retirement reform law-, the unions were looking for a new show of force after the failure of the meeting held the day before with the Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne.
On a day before the festivities of Easterthe French authorities valued the adherence to the march in Paris, the main one in the country, at 57,000 people, a figure raised to 400,000 according to the unions.
Nationwide, workers’ organizations counted more than 2 million protesters, while the total offered by the Interior Ministry was 570,000.
The participation trend, in any case, is down compared to last week, but without significantly weakening.
“Whatever happens, the mobilization will continue as long as the reform is not withdrawn”assured the new leader of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT, second power plant in the country), Sophie Binetat the beginning of the demonstration organized in Paris.
For his part, the general secretary of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT, the first union), Laurent Berger, stressed that “this movement continues to have the support of the population” and that “the rejection” continues to be “just as strong ”.
At the end of the day, in fact, an inter-union meeting agreed on a new day of protests on April 13, the day before the decision of the Constitutional Council.
The protesters agreed today that the only way out of the crisis is the withdrawal of this reform, which increases the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 years, something in which the Government has been inflexible.
For the Executive, the measure is essential to guarantee the financial balance of the pension system in the medium term.
“There is no alternative, they must back down, we are right, they are wrong, we are in the majority,” Thomas Vaucouleur, a member of the agricultural section of the CGT union, told EFE at the Paris demonstration.
For this trade unionist, “there is a strong resentment of the population” against the Government, which is worsening with the police response to the demonstrations, and Macron “lives in the parallel reality of capitalism and big business.”
“At least I think I’m going to die before my retirement,” he lamented. Violeta 25-year-old student who also criticized the government’s deafness to popular discontent.
Incidents in Paris
In the capital, there were some incidents, especially at the end point of the demonstration, the italy squarewith clashes between police and protesters.
Some violent groups also attacked the restaurant the roundabout on Montparnasse boulevard, symbolic for Macron, because it was there that he held the first round of the 2017 presidential election, the first he won.
There was also destruction of street furniture and attacks on some businesses and bank branches, in evidence of the growing level of tension in the mobilizations.
Although peaceful in general, they hardened especially after the government’s decision to approve the reform without submitting it to a vote in Parliament on March 16.
The mobilizations this Thursday also resulted in strikes in sectors such as education and public transport, although not as intense as on previous occasions.
In Paris, metro traffic was almost normal and the commuter train saw frequencies partially reduced. As regards flights, airports such as those in Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes The scheduled routes will be cut by 20%, but the Parisian Orly, which had been quite affected on other occasions, did not have to cancel trips.
The difficulties due to the strikes also continue in the fuel sector, despite the forced mobilization of workers this week to alleviate the supply problems, a situation that is expected to improve in the coming days.
The Government received a judicial setback today in this regard with the decision of a court in Rouen to suspend the obligation to reinstate several workers at the Gonfreville-L’Orcher refinery, of the group TotalEnergieswho were on strike.
Not yet a year after the last presidential elections, this political crisis is translating into a drop in popularity for Macron, who if he were to face far-right Marine Le Pen in elections today, would lose by a wide margin, according to polls.
A barometer published today by the newspaper Les Echos reveals that only a quarter of the French say they trust him.
Source: EFE Agency.
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