Protests against the pension reform multiplied this Saturday in Franceafter President Emmanuel Macron imposed it by decree last Thursday, after verifying that he did not have the necessary votes for its approval in the Lower House.
The authorities prohibited the rallies in the Place de la Concorde in Paris, located in front of the National Assembly (Lower House), as well as in the Champs Elysees, after two nights of demonstrations that gave rise to incidents with hundreds of arrests. The ban was adopted “due to the serious risks of disturbing public order and security,” a police statement said.
On Saturday night, the police repressed the protests in the capital with tear gas and arrested at least 71 people. According to the authorities, the intervention was against “rioters who are trying to create barricades and set fire to garbage cans.”
A group of protesters broke into the Halles shopping center, according to videos posted on social networks, in which they are seen entering the premises of the shopping center despite the opposition of security guards.
Pending the new day of massive protests called by the unions next Thursday, the sectoral strikes slow down the activity of the second largest economy in the European Union (EU) and tons of garbage pile up in its main cities.
Macron’s decision to approve the reform using a constitutional provision that allows him to skip the legislative vote gave impetus to popular outrage, which had been declining in recent days.. The move added a political crisis to the social one already facing the president, less than a year into his second five-year term.
Deputies from opposition forces presented two motions of censure, which will be discussed starting Monday. The approval of any of them (something unlikely in principle) would annul the presidential decree and would force Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to resign.
One of the motions of no confidence against the government was presented by the independent parliamentary group LIOT and another by the far-right National Rally party of Marine Le Pen, defeated by Macron in the second round of the last two presidential elections.
The reform that sparked the protests in the country aims to delaying the retirement age from 62 to 64 years by 2030 and bringing forward to 2027 the requirement to contribute 43 years (and not 42 as now) to collect a full retirement.
The turmoil has innumerable foci and shows no sign of abating. The largest oil refinery in France, located in Normandy, in the northeast of the country, paralyzed its facilities last night and other companies are expected to follow suit starting Monday, union sources reported.
Industry Minister, Roland Lescure, indicated that the Government could order personnel requisitions, a measure that forces essential personnel to return to work, to avoid fuel shortages.
They were also ordered requisitions of garbage collectors in Paris to begin clearing some 10,000 tons of waste that accumulates in the streets of the capital due to a strike in the sector.
In addition to Paris, marches were called in Marseille, Brest, Toulon and Montellier, among other major cities.