Protests against pension reform marred by violence

Protests against pension reform marred by violence

Demonstrations, marred by clashes and violence between walkers and the police, were organized in several French cities on Thursday at the call of the inter-union, to protest against the pension reform carried out by the government.

During this eleventh day of mobilization, nearly 2 million people demonstrated, according to the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), and 570,000 for the Ministry of the Interior.

In the capital, the CGT reports 400,000 demonstrators. In Rennes, the usual stronghold of protest, the unions counted 20,000 demonstrators and the prefecture 8,500. The demonstrators were also numerous in Marseille (south, 10,000 to 170,000) and Clermont-Ferrand (center, 7,500 to 20,000).

One hundred and eleven people were arrested during this day of mobilization and 154 police officers and gendarmes injured, according to a provisional report tweeted by the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin.

In education, the ministry has identified about 8% of striking teachers. Some establishments, high schools and universities, have been blocked. The strike also affected transport, in particular the SNCF (railways), with three out of four TGVs and one out of two TERs.

On the refinery side, the production of TotalEnergies in Gonfreville-L’Orcher, in Normandy, is still stopped.

The use of article 49.3 of the Constitution to have the highly criticized pension reform project adopted without a vote in Parliament did not disarm the opposition and the unions. On the contrary, relations between the Head of State and the social partners are turning sour. A meeting on Wednesday between the head of government, Elisabeth Borne and the inter-union came to an end, the unions speaking of “failure”, the CGT outright denouncing an “obtuse, radicalized and disconnected government”.

During the previous day of mobilization on Thursday March 28, more than 2 million people had beaten the pavement throughout France, according to figures from the CGT. The authorities had announced, for their part, 740,000 demonstrators.

The inter-union also called Thursday for a 12th day of demonstrations on April 13, on the eve of a long-awaited decision of the Constitutional Council, which must rule on the constitutionality of this reform carried out by the government.


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