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France rocked by nationwide protest over pension reforms after govt plans to raise the minimum retirement age to 64 from 62

The protests have caused widespread disruption, with transport networks severely affected. Demonstrators sat on train tracks, causing delays and cancellations, and some even blocked access to an airport terminal. Oil refineries have also been targeted.

France has been hit by nationwide protests over the pension reforms, with demonstrators blocking access to transportation networks, oil refineries, and schools. The government is seeking to increase the minimum age for retirement from 62 to 64, which has been met with strong opposition from the public.

“I oppose this reform and I really oppose the fact that democracy no longer means anything,” a demonstrator told Reuters. “We’re not being represented, and so we’re fed up.”

Violent protests are underway in France after President Macron used his emergency presidential decree to push through a rise in the pension age from 62 to 64. The Senate passed the legislation on Thursday morning, and it was due to go to a National Assembly vote in the afternoon. Instead, Macron used an emergency presidential decree to allow the legislation without a vote.

The protests have caused widespread disruption, with transport networks severely affected. Demonstrators sat on train tracks, causing delays and cancellations, and some even blocked access to an airport terminal. Oil refineries have also been targeted.

On Thursday, the Bordeaux town hall was set on fire by protestors. More than a million people have taken to the streets against the reforms.

The protests have not been peaceful, with clashes reported between demonstrators and police in various parts of the country. Tear gas was used on crowds in some areas, and there have been reports of arrests and injuries.

The government has defended its proposed pension reforms, saying they are necessary to ensure the sustainability of the pension system. However, critics argue that the changes will disproportionately affect those in lower-income brackets and will be a setback for workers’ rights.

Macron had earlier said “When I started working, there were ten million retirees; today there are 17 million, and by 2030 there will be 20 million,” he said. “Do you really think we can continue with the same rules?” “When groups, as they have this week, use violence without any rules because they are not happy with something, then that is no longer a democracy,” Macron said.

This hasn’t gone down well with the public and the protests have received support from labour unions, who have called for further strikes and demonstrations in the coming days. The situation remains tense, and it is unclear how the government will respond to the growing public unrest.

Earlier OpIndia had reported that due to sanitation workers joining the protests, there was a garbage pile-up in Paris. The workers’ strike has impacted half of the districts in Paris, Nantes, Rennes, and Le Havre. The city’s waste piles weighed more than 7,000 tonnes, as per reports. While comparable issues are present in other French towns as well, the shambles in the nation’s capital are drawing attention globally.

While these protests have been ongoing for two months since the government unveiled the pension reforms proposal in January this year, Thursday marked the first day of coordinated action by Public and Labour Unions. It followed Macron breaking weeks of silence on the new policy to say he would not back down and the law would come into force by the end of 2023.

Macron and his government have defended the retirement reform and said that it is necessary to keep the pension system funded, claiming it would otherwise eventually go bankrupt.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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