PARIS (VG) On Thursday, the French president used a controversial loophole. Now the French show their fury.
Less than 20 minutes ago
– We have no rights, exclaims Tia (21).
It is the third day protesters have taken to the streets of Paris. She is there to show that she is flight cursed.
Yesterday, protesters like her had set fire to the streets of Paris and other major cities in the country.
They have shown their anger against the government’s pension reform which, among other things, will raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
But what has really irritated many is that the government of President Emmanuel Macron has forced through the reform without a vote in the National Assembly.
– It is important to show that this is our country, our rights, and we must show that we think this is unfair, says Tia.
She and hundreds of other protesters are marching through the streets around Place d’Italie in the center.
The French government on Thursday introduced a controversial rule to push through the pension reform.
It is in line with the French constitution, but this solution has provoked strong reactions, in what opponents have called undemocratic.
The reform itself is also controversial, although Macron believes that it is absolutely necessary as there will be fewer people in work.
The reform has been described by the protesters and trade unions as both unfair, undemocratic and hostile to women.
In recent months, there have been several strikes in France, where planes and trains have had to stop, and oil refineries have been blocked.
On Saturday, the police did not make it easy for the demonstrators.
They put down a demonstration ban for parts of the city centre.
But despite the ban, thousands showed up. But there are fewer than there have been earlier this year, when there have been several hundred thousand in the streets of Paris.
As they march through the cobblestone streets, they shout slogans against President Macron, and set fire to trash can after trash can.
And it’s enough to take off, because cleaning workers have demonstrated for over a week against the aforementioned pension reform by not picking up rubbish.
So rubbish bins are overflowing in the French capital.
As the protesters march through the streets, spectators come out onto the balconies and cheer for those who have taken to the streets.
It is like cat and mouse between the protesters and the police. Time and time again, the police try to charge at the demonstrators, while they raise their batons and have their shields ready.
But they manage to run away.
Opinion polls show that the reform is extremely unpopular in the country.
Several opposition parties have either put forward or notified motions of no confidence against the government for the introduction of the reform.
The large protests constitute one of the biggest challenges so far in Macron’s presidency. The 45-year-old began his second presidency less than a year ago, writes the NTB news agency.
As the protesters attempt to reach the Place de la Concorde, they are barricaded.
The police rush towards them, and several of the demonstrators realize that the battle is lost.
They get caught in a small park and lie down on their stomachs.
Executions and revolution
A few hours earlier, at the Place de la Concorde in the center of Paris. This is where the battle has been for the last few days.
A historical place that has been used for executions and was absolutely central during the French Revolution. It was then temporarily renamed “Place de la Révolution”.
On Saturday afternoon, while the sun was setting over the springtime capital, masked riot police began checking the documents of random passers-by.
Because they had banned the demonstration on Saturday.
Hundreds of policemen and women stood ready with shields and batons, while trucks with water cannons were also preparing.
“You hate Macron!” has someone tagged.
There was also the Frenchman Thomas (24), looking for a demonstration in which he could participate.
– It is so outrageous that the reform has not been voted on, it feels like we are no longer in a democracy. We feel powerless.
After talking for half a minute, four riot police come over and chase us away.
– It feels like we are not even allowed to protest. It is very unfair.
Most of the protesters are peaceful. But there are also some who create noise and destroy in order to draw attention to the matter.
He is among the former, he says.
– We do not feel that our vote counts, even though millions of people have protested against this reform, he says.
See video: Here, the police and demonstrators clash on Wednesday earlier this week.
Published: 18.03.23 at 22:45