Protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to impose a bill raising the retirement age from 62 to 64. Through parliament without a vote it disrupted traffic, garbage collection and university campuses in Paris as opponents of change maintained their resolve to persuade the government to back down.
Striking sanitation workers shut down a waste collection plant that houses Europe’s largest incinerator to underscore their resolve, and university students march out of lecture halls to join the strikes. Leaders of the influential CGT union called on people to leave schools, factories, refineries and other workplaces.
Several groups, including yellow vest activists who staged massive protests against Macron’s economic policies during his first term, have called on the president’s opponents to march on Parliament at 18:00 (17:00 GMT) on Friday.
Union leaders weren’t the only ones angry about Macron’s plan to make French citizens work for two more years before they became eligible for full pensions. Opposition parties are expected to begin later on Friday the procedures for a vote of no confidence in the government led by Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne. The vote is likely to take place early next week.
Macron Bourne ordered Thursday to tap into a special constitutional power To push a hugely unpopular pension bill without a vote in the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament.
His calculated risk angered opposition MPs, many citizens and trade unions. Thousands gathered in protest on Thursday in Place de la Concorde, which faces the National Assembly building. As night fell, police officers attacked the protesters in waves to clear the scene. Then small groups moved through the adjacent streets of the elegant Champs-Elysées, setting fires in the streets.
Similar scenes were repeated in many other cities, from Rennes and Nantes in eastern France to Lyon and the southern port city of Marseille, where storefronts and bank fronts were smashed, according to French media.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told RTL radio station on Friday that 310 people were arrested overnight. Most of the arrests, 258, were made in Paris, Darmanin said.
Trade unions that organized strikes and marches against raising the retirement age He said that more protest gatherings and marches would be organized in the coming days. They declared that “this pension reform is brutal, unjust and unjustifiable to the working world”.
Filling the streets with discontent and refusing to continue working is “the only way to get them to back off,” CGT union representative Regis Vesely told The Associated Press on Friday. “We will not stop,” he added.
Macron has made the proposed pension changes the main priority of his second term, arguing that reform was necessary to make the French economy more competitive and to keep the pension system from running into deficits. France, like many rich countries, You experience lower birth rates and longer life expectancies.
Macron decided to resort to the special power during a cabinet meeting a few minutes before the scheduled vote in the National Assembly, as the legislation does not guarantee majority support. The Senate adopted the bill earlier Thursday.
Opposition MPs called on the government to step down. If the expected motion of no confidence fails, the pension bill will be deemed approved. If passed, it would also end Macron’s pension reform plan and force the government to resign, the first since 1962.
Macron could reappoint Bourne if he so chose, and a new government would be named.
Macron’s centrist coalition has the most seats in the National Assembly, where a motion of no confidence also requires majority support. Lawmakers on the far left and right are determined to vote for.
Republican leaders said their conservative party would not support the proposal. While some lawmakers in the party may shy away from this stance, they are expected to be in the minority.
Associated Press reporters Alex Turnbull and Nicholas Garriga contributed to this report.
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