Angry reactions condemning the words of French President Emmanuel Macron, after he spoke for the first time since the outbreak of the protests about his insistence on implementing pension reform.
While street protests continue, unions are preparing for a general strike and demonstrations on a day dubbed “Black Thursday”.
Today, Thursday, trade unions plan in 200 municipalities in France to organize their ninth and largest protest against reforming the retirement age, in a move that the media described as “Black Thursday”.
Tensions escalated in France following the passage of the retirement law…and random calls for demonstrations
In Paris, demonstrators are expected to march from the Place de la Bastille along the boulevards to the Place de la Opéra in the afternoon, with the participation of up to 70,000 people. With advice to motorists to avoid moving in this area of the city.
In a television interview, French President Emmanuel Macron announced, on the other hand, his commitment to reforming the pension system, despite the protests of the unions. He stressed that the authorities “will not allow” a recurrence of the unrest that occurred in recent days during the spontaneous demonstrations in the capital and the provinces.
In addition, the authorities, in anticipation of the ninth wave of protests, took additional security measures. And ordered the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin to send 5 thousand policemen and gendarmes to perform their duties in the capital.
Prior to the demonstrations, screenings will be conducted in order to identify weapons and other prohibited items. The minister urged law enforcement agencies not to “respond to provocations” which, he said, could have been carried out by the far left.
The regional intelligence service of the French National Police Directorate stated that up to 600 extremist elements, including the “yellow vests”, may participate in the demonstrations.
The police said that more than 300 policemen and gendarmes have been injured since protests against pension reform began two months ago.
Last week alone, the police arrested 855 people for various offenses during the demonstrations, 729 of them in Paris.
It is noteworthy that the capital march is scheduled to end today, Thursday, with a decision by the unions on how to proceed.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation of France, in connection with strike notifications from trade unions in the industry, ordered the cancellation of a third of all flights at Orly airport in the capital. The number of flights offered by Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse airports has also been reduced by 20%.
In addition, airport authorities warned passengers of the possibility of other violations, and recommended that they reschedule their air travel days.