French citizens again protest against Macron’s pension plan

The nationwide demonstrations and marches on Saturday were the second round of protests in four days against Macron’s pension reform proposals and the seventh round since January.

More than a million people marched in cities and towns on Tuesday, but Macron’s refusal to agree to union leaders’ request for a meeting has fueled the protesters’ resolve, the leader of the leftist CGT union said ahead of a march in Paris. .

“There is more anger,” insisted Philippe Martínez, adding that refusing to meet with the union leaders organizing the protests was an insult that amounted to “pointing the finger”.

Protesters march during a demonstration in Paris
Protesters march during a demonstration in Paris (Lewis Joly/AP)

Instead, Macron wrote a letter to the unions. He said he chose to “make the French work a little harder” because other options would have involved “lowering pensions, raising taxes or letting our children and grandchildren bear the financial burden.”

The legislation is currently under debate in the Senate. On Friday, the government requested a special procedure to speed up the process by scheduling a single vote on the entire bill instead of separate votes on each article and hundreds of amendments.

If the bill passes the conservative-controlled Senate, as expected, it would continue on its way through France’s complex legislative process next week.

The government has not ruled out invoking a special constitutional power to force the bill through parliament without a vote after the senate debate concludes.

Laurent Berger, head of the moderate French Democratic Labor Confederation (CFDT), said using the special power, even if legal, would be undemocratic.

“The fight is not lost,” he said.

Police fight with protesters
Police fight with protesters (Lewis Joly / AP)

Polls consistently show that most people oppose the retirement plan.

However, turnout in morning protests in several cities, including the Riviera city of Nice, was lower than during Tuesday’s marches.

The Paris march also seemed thinner.

There were no official figures available.

Fights with police broke out less than two hours after the start of the Paris march, with security forces trying to break up black-clad rioters who regularly appear at protests and often smash store and bank windows.

Mr. Berger, the CFDT leader, dismissed the figures, which unions have cited in the past to show that popular opinion was against the retirement plan.

“Sometimes when there are fewer people in the streets, there is more anger in the head,” he said before the Paris march.


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