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People took to the streets in large numbers in several French cities today to demonstrate against President Macron’s pension reforms. The French government wants to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, to the dismay of trade unions.
Actions took place in about 200 places. According to the French Ministry of the Interior, more than 1.1 million protesters took to the streets across the country, 80,000 of them in Paris. The Ministry of Education says that 30 to 40 percent of teachers are on strike today.
The trade unions indicated earlier this evening that there were many more protesters across France, and said they numbered more than 2 million.
Riots and disrupted public transportation
Newspaper Le Monde It is reported that about forty people have been arrested in riots in the capital. Tear gas was used around the protest there as masked protesters pelted police. There were also some confrontations with the police in Lyon and Rennes.
Public transportation was seriously disrupted by the strikes. Local train traffic was nearly impossible, and the TGV, the high-speed line, only ran to a limited extent. Several metro stations in Paris are closed.
The protests revolve around major reforms to the pension system. Macron, for example, wants to gradually increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 years. In addition, he also wants to increase the number of years that French people have to work to claim a full pension: from 42 to 43. It is possible to retire early, but not for a full pension.
The government puts forward an aging population as an argument for reform: working people pay full pensions to an increasing number of pensioners for longer and longer. According to the president, the pension system threatens to become unaffordable if no action is taken.
The trade unions, in turn, are insisting that the government will retract its previously obtained labor rights and are demanding that Macron consider other financial solutions first.
Demonstrators took to the streets in large numbers in several French cities:
The French say ‘no’ to two years of an extra pension
France’s eight main trade unions have already announced a date tonight for new demonstrations against pension reforms. The action will be taken again on January 31.
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