Protests against Macron’s pension bill continue across Paris, teargas fired, injuries reported

Protests against Macron’s pension bill continue across Paris, teargas fired, injuries reported. [Photo: Twitter]

Massive protests across Paris continue following the country’s President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to raise the retirement age by two years by sidestepping a vote in the country’s national assembly.

The French President brought the reform following which retirement age was raised from 62 to 64, justifying it a pertinent to saving France’s pension system from going bankrupt.

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

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, international media reported.

On Wednesday, black-clad groups set fire to garbage cans and threw projectiles at police in Paris, who charged at them and threw teargas in confrontations on the fringes of a march against President Emmanuel Macron and his deeply unpopular pension bill, Reuters reported.

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.

Last week, police fired tear gas and clashed with violent anarchists in Paris as hundreds of thousands of mainly peaceful protesters marched across France.

Dozens of police were injured, and dozens of protesters arrested nationwide, the government said, as a day of protests descended into violence in several cities on Thursday.

In a ninth day of nationwide protests, train, and air travel was disrupted while teachers were among many professions to walk off the job, just days after the government pushed through legislation to raise the retirement age by two years to 64, a report by Al Jazeera said.

Demonstrations in central Paris were generally peaceful, but smaller groups of “Black Bloc” anarchists smashed shop windows, demolished street furniture, and ransacked a McDonalds restaurant. Clashes ensued as riot police moved in and drove back the anarchists with tear gas and stun grenades.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 123 police officers had been injured and 80 people arrested across the country.

Earlier, workers blocked access to a terminal at the Charles de Gaulle airport, forcing some travellers to get there on foot.

Train services were also disrupted and some schools shut while garbage piled up on the streets, and electricity output was cut, as unions pressured the government to withdraw the law that delays retirement by two years.

Plumes of smoke were seen rising from burning piles of debris blocking traffic on a highway near Toulouse, in southwestern France, and wildcat strikes briefly blocked roads in other cities as well.

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, Reuters reported.

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