Paris police clashed with protesters for a third night on Saturday, as thousands demonstrated across the country amid anger at the government’s campaign to raise the retirement age without a vote in parliament.
The demonstrators chanted slogans calling for Macron’s resignation. Riot police used tear gas and clashed with some in the crowd after rubbish bins were set on fire, according to Reuters.
Police also arrested 81 demonstrators in Paris.
Municipal authorities banned gatherings in the Place de la Concorde and the nearby Champs-Elysees in central Paris on Saturday evening, after demonstrations that resulted in the arrest of 61 people in the previous two nights.
From Paris, Friday (Reuters)
Call for a general strike
A group of students and activists also briefly stormed the Forum de l’Commercial Center in the French capital, holding banners calling for a general strike, according to video clips on social media.
BFM TV also showed scenes of demonstrations in cities such as Compiègne in the north, Nantes in the west and Marseille in the south. Police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators in Bordeaux, in the southwest of the country, after they started a fire.
‘There is no place for violence’
In the context, Minister of Digital Transformation and Communications Jean-Noel Barrow told Radio Sud that “there is no place for violence. Parliamentary democracy must be respected.”
While a coalition of the main unions in France announced that it would continue to mobilize to try to stop the changes. The country is scheduled to go on strike on Thursday.
Garbage also piled up in the streets of Paris after cleaners joined the protest.
A spokesman for Total Energies said that about 37% of operational staff at the company’s refineries and depots in France went on strike on Saturday.
At the same time strikes continued to rotate in the railway sector.
French police in Paris on Friday (Reuters)
The most serious challenge
It is noteworthy that the government of President Emmanuel Macron wants to raise the retirement age from two years to 64 years, and says that this is necessary to ensure that the system does not go bankrupt.
While the growing unrest and strikes represent the most serious challenge to Macron’s authority since the “yellow vest” protests four years ago.