Arab Press

بالشعب و للشعب
Monday, May 27, 2024

Paris streets ablaze as protesters vent fury over pensions reform

Paris streets ablaze as protesters vent fury over pensions reform

Clashes break out in the French capital and other cities as up one million people join marches across the country

Black-clad groups set fire to rubbish bins and threw projectiles at police in Paris, who charged at them and threw teargas on the fringes of a march against President Emmanuel Macron and his deeply unpopular pension bill.

Clashes also erupted on Tuesday at similar rallies in other cities including Rennes, Bordeaux and Toulouse, with a bank branch and cars set ablaze in Nantes.

However, while public frustration has evolved into broader anti-Macron sentiment, there was less violence than last week and rallies were otherwise largely peaceful.

But amid the clashes, one man lied motionless on the ground after being knocked out by a police charge in Paris, live footage from BFM TV showed. Footage of the same scene went viral on social media. Police stopped to give him assistance but did not later respond to a request for comment on the man’s health.

Earlier in the day, the government rejected unions’ demand to suspend and rethink the pension bill, which raises retirement age by two years to 64, infuriating labour leaders who said the government must find a way out of the crisis.

A demonstrator holds a placard reading ‘Impeachment. The street won’t give up’ during a rally in Paris


The government said it was more than willing to talk to unions, but on other topics, and repeated it would stand firm on pensions. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has offered to meet unions next Monday and Tuesday.

Millions of people have been demonstrating and joining strike action since mid-January to show their opposition to the bill. Unions said the next nationwide day of protests would be on April 6.

The protests have intensified since the government used special powers to push the bill through parliament without a vote.

One protester in Paris captured the mood, brandishing a banner that read: “France is angry.”

“The bill has acted as a catalyst for anger over Macron’s policies,” said Fanny Charier, 31, who works for the Pole Emploi office for job seekers.

A man lies on the pavement after riot police officers charged protesters in Paris


Mr Macron, who promised pension reform in both of his presidential campaigns, says change is needed to keep the country’s finances in balance. Unions and opposition parties say there are other ways to do that.

“We have proposed a way out ... and it’s intolerable that we are being stonewalled again,” the head of the CFDT union, Laurent Berger, told reporters at the Paris rally.

In the previous big day of protests on Thursday, “Black Bloc” anarchists smashed shop windows, demolished bus stops and ransacked a McDonald’s restaurant in Paris, with similar acts in other cities.

That was some of the worst street violence in years in France, reminiscent of protests of the yellow-vest movement during Mr Macron’s first term.

People fall over as police charge during proitests in Paris on Tuesday


On Tuesday, rallies were more peaceful, despite some clashes.

In the western city of Nantes, the boarded-up front of a BNP Paribas bank branch was set on fire. A car was set on fire in the margins of the rally, while some shot fireworks at police.

Also in western France, protesters blocked the Rennes ring road and set an abandoned car on fire. In Paris and in Marseille, protesters blocked train tracks for a while.

Rolling strikes in the transport, aviation and energy sectors continued to disrupt travel.

Youths scuffle with police forces amid tear gas during a demonstration in Nantes


However, in a move bringing some relief for Parisians and tourists alike, city waste collectors said they were suspending a weeks-long strike that has left the roads around famous landmarks strewn with piles of trash.

There were also fewer teachers on strike than on previous days. Union leaders said high inflation made it harder for workers to sacrifice a day’s pay on the picket line.

The Interior Ministry said 740,000 people had protested across the country on Tuesday, well below the record 1.09 million seen at the March 23 rally. The numbers in Paris were also below last week’s record but higher or equal to earlier demonstrations since January.

Nonetheless, about 17% of all fuel stations in France were missing at least one product as of Monday night, France’s petroleum association UFIP said, citing energy ministry data.

Charles de Courson, from the opposition Liot party, said French authorities should learn from the situation in Israel, where the government just hit pause on a controversial justice overhaul.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Arab Press
0:00
0:00
Close
Norway, Ireland, and Spain Recognize Palestinian State
ICC Seeks Arrest Warrants for Israeli and Hamas Leaders
Death of Iran's President Raisi Stirs Succession Race for Supreme Leader
What Happens If an Iranian President Dies in Office?
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Reportedly Killed in Helicopter Crash
FedEx Airlines Boeing 767 cargo plane lands on nose at Istanbul Airport
Netanyahu's Firm Stance Amid Rafah Hostage Talks
Blinken on Gaza: Ceasefire is Key to Humanitarian Crisis Resolution
UAE Prime Minister Announces $544M for Home Repairs after Historic Rains, Vows to Learn from Experience
Isfahan Explosions: US Media Reports Israel's Retaliatory Strikes on Iran
Four Dead, Dubai Airport Disrupted: UAE's Heaviest Rains in 75 Years Cause Flooding and Flight Chaos
Dubai Airports: Stranded Tourists 'Living on Duty Free,' Desperate for Food and Water
Heavy Rains Cause Flooding in UAE and Oman: 18 Lives Lost
You can be a very successful player, but a player with character is another level!
Unprecedented Flooding Disrupts Dubai
Ajman Crown Prince Declares Remote Work Day for Government Employees Due to Weather (Except Essential Jobs)
IDF released footage showing Israeli fighter jets downing some of the 300 drones and missiles fired from Iran at Israel.
The West stands with Israel, Iran is furious: "Double standards and irresponsibility"
Huge Queues at Iranian Gas Stations
Stabbing rampage terror attack in Sydney, at least four people killed, early reports that a baby was among those stabbed.
Scandal in Iran after a goalkeeper had the audacity to hug a female fan who stormed the pitch
Iran fired more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel overnight. Israel Reports Light Damage After Iran Launches Large Strike.
Saudi Arabia calls for "restraint" amid Iranian strikes on Israel
Iran launched dozens of drones at Israel on Saturday but they will take hours to reach their targets, Israel's military said
Online YouTube streamer N3ON was just sentenced to AN ENTIRE YEAR in prison in Dubai for filming and live-streaming, without “proper permits”
UN Chief Warns: Gaza Outflow to Egypt Would Derail Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Record Number of Arab Soldiers Serve in IDF Amidst Ongoing Gaza Conflict: A Personal Story of Loyalty and Advocacy
Major Charities Warn of Genocide in Gaza: 'Impossible' to Deliver Aid, Israel Accused of Complicity
Biden Warns Netanyahu: US Aid to Israel Depends on Gaza Civilian Protection
Israel Reopens Gaza Border for Temporary Humanitarian Aid Amid International Pressure
United Arab Emirates suspends diplomatic relations with Israel
DOZENS OF ARMED FIGHTERS ATTACK 3 IRANIAN MILITARY FACILITIES
Qatar PM: Displaced Palestinians Key Issue in Gaza Ceasefire Negotiations
Palestinian Authority Seeks Renewed UN Membership Amid Reforms and International Pressure
Gaza Crisis: Soaring Newborn Mortality Due to Malnutrition and Destroyed Health Facilities
World Bank: $18.5 Billion in Damages to Gaza's Critical Infrastructure and Economy
Iran: Two Generals, Five Officers Killed in Israeli Strike on Syrian Consulate
Israel Passes Law to Potentially Ban Al Jazeera Amid Conflict with Hamas
Turkish local elections: Opposition stuns Erdogan with historic victory
Israel Must "Ensure Urgent Humanitarian Assistance" In Gaza: World Court
Saudi Arabia To Participate In Miss Universe Pageant For 1st Time Ever
Court ruling effectively outlaws Islamic schools in India’s most populous state
"War Crime" Warning by Macron to Israel on Gazans' Forced Transfer
Senior Hezbollah Official Makes Landmark Visit To UAE: Report
Gaza's catastrophic food shortage means mass death is imminent, monitor says
Over 13,000 Children Killed in Gaza, UN Agency Reports
Israeli PM approves Rafah operation plan
Islamic call in British parliament today.
Thai Muslims perform the Taraweeh prayer during the holy month of Ramadan
South Africa announced that Israeli soldiers holding South African citizenship would be arrested upon entering the country
×