France.- 200 people arrested in Paris after night of rioting against Macron’s pension reform

Protests in Paris after the approval of the pension reform – Europa Press/Contacto/Gerard Cambon

Police in Paris have arrested more than 200 people for the riots that have taken place on Thursday night in the French capital, in protest to the approval by an article of the Constitution by the government of Emmanuel Macron of the pension reform, which increases the retirement age from 62 to 64 years.

Specifically, 217 people have been arrested after setting fire to and damaging public furniture and after clashing with security forces, as detailed in a report by the Paris police headquarters and picked up by the BFTM channel.

Thousands of people gathered at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, a few steps away from the French Parliament, to denounce the »forced step» of the Executive to make use of article 49.3 of the Constitution for the pension reform, which had not obtained the support of the National Assembly to go ahead.

The police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the demonstrators, driving them away from the French National Assembly, according to the newspaper. After several hours of unrest, the tensions in the streets have come to an end.

Meanwhile, France’s main trade unions have announced a big day of demonstrations for next Thursday, March 23, to demand the total withdrawal of the reform, while the opposition will present a motion of censure to the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, this Friday.

The protests are taking place on a day when the French government has decided to use Article 49.3 of the Constitution, which avoids submitting the pension reform to a vote in the French National Assembly, after finding that it lacks a sufficient majority to move forward one of the flagship projects of the president, Emmanuel Macron.

The French Prime Minister has defended the application of Article 49.3 of the Constitution and has assured, during an interview on the TF1 Info channel granted on Thursday, that they have worked »until the last minute» to obtain a majority on the pension reform.

The French Prime Minister acknowledged that she understands »the great effort» that the French will have to make to work »for two more years», although she expressed that »letting people believe that we can pay everything with debt is not serious».

Borne also commented on the booing, shouts of resignation and chants of the opposition experienced during the day in a tense session at the National Assembly. »That reflects that a certain number of opposition groups do not respect our institutions. Some want chaos,» he said.


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