Protests continue as French government rejects negotiating offer on pension reform

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The French government on Tuesday rejected a request to “pause” the pension reform plan and set up an arbitration period. This was followed by clashes with law enforcement, skirmishes and other vandalism that marred demonstrations against pension reform in several cities, including Paris.

The day of national protests and strikes called by labor unions is the 10th since mid-January to oppose laws including a proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Paris police said they fired tear gas grenades in an attempt to disperse some protesters to “facilitate the progress of the demonstration”.

Authorities arrested 27 people in Paris and conducted around 10,000 tests during the day.

At a joint press conference at 19:45 on Tuesday evening, the union said it “regrets” the fact that people were injured in clashes between demonstrators and police on Place de la Nation in Paris, but in June The 11th day of the strike was announced on Thursday the 6th. April.

The union estimates that about 450,000 people demonstrated in Paris on Tuesday. Police put the number at him at 93,000.

‘Unprecedented’ measures

13,000 police and gendarmes, including 5,500 in Paris, were mobilized on the 10th day of protests against pension reform, according to Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin, a measure he said was “unprecedented”.

Protesters hold the French flag by a fire during clashes at a demonstration as part of the 10th day of nationwide strikes and protests against the French government’s pension reforms on March 28, 2023 in Paris, France. REUTERS/Nacho Doce Reuters – NACHO DOCE

In western France, where last Thursday’s clashes were particularly intense, demonstrations were generally calm, although violence and vandalism were reported in Nantes and Rennes.

In the Loire-Atlantique, a bank branch and a car were set on fire, and an administrative court was also targeted. At least one protester was injured during a Nantes demonstration that the prefecture said had resulted in 49 arrests.

In Rennes, significant damage was reported in the city center where insurance agents were raided. Police used water cannons and six people were arrested.

In Toulouse, demonstrations were also marked by incidents. Law enforcement used water cannons against about 50 demonstrators dressed in black, wearing masks and safety glasses.

ransacked store

Elsewhere in Lyon, where shops were vandalized, police also used water cannons. In Lille, clashes also broke out between law enforcement and some protesters at the end of the procession. The former used his two water cannons and fired tear gas before dispersing the demonstrators, and at least one of him was arrested. Until then, the demonstrations were largely peaceful.

Use of gas by law enforcement was also reported in Bordeaux, Calais, Dijon and Caen.

In Paris, a massive demonstration against pension reform went from Place de la Republique to Place de la Nation on March 28, 2023. © Damien Vasil/RFI

In Strasbourg, especially in the student town of Kultenau, hundreds of young demonstrators played cat-and-mouse with law enforcement. Bank windows were shattered and at least 10 of his bus shelters were shattered.

In Besançon, clashes broke out between some 150 protesters and the police. The county “paid tribute to the union leaders” who intervened to prevent protesters from setting fire to the county’s doors.

In Nancy, police fired tear gas at protesters in Place Stanislas, the city’s main square.

“Don’t argue”

President Macron held crisis talks with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, other ministers and senior parliamentarians at the Élysée Palace on Monday.

À la veille de la 10e journée de mobilization contre la reforme des retraites, Emmanuel Macron reste inflexible mais ne ferme pas la porte au dialog. Via Reuters – Poole

The president refused to change the pension law, but conference participants, citing President Emmanuel Macron, said: “We need to continue to reach out to the unions.”

Vaughn plans three weeks of meetings with members of parliament, political parties and local governments, and hopes to meet with union leaders.

Laurent Berger, head of the moderates CFDTs The union called for the appointment of an intermediary between the union and the government as a “gesture in support of staying calm and finding solutions.”

Laurent Berger, Secretary General of the French Democratic Labor Confederation (CFDT), walks during a rally in Paris on Thursday, March 23, 2023. AP – Aurélien Morrissard

extreme left CGT Union leader Philippe Martínez said the “objective is to repeal” the pension law.

But government spokesman Olivier Veran said the law was no longer up for debate.

“Now is the past,” he said.

(agency) Protests continue as French government rejects negotiating offer on pension reform

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