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Violent protests in France against Macron for postponing the retirement age

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Posted on Fri, Mar 17, 2023 7:00am EDT

Angry demonstrators took to the streets of Paris and other cities for a second day on Friday to try to pressure lawmakers to bring down the government of French President Emmanuel Macron and quash an unpopular increase in the retirement age without which he is trying to impose. vote. National Assembly.

A day after Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne invoked a special constitutional power to avoid voting in the chaotic lower house, lawmakers from the right and the left put forward motions of no confidence for a vote on Monday.

On the elegant Place de la Concorde, a festive demonstration of several thousand people, with songs, dances and huge bonfires, turns into a spectacle that echoed the day before. Riot police attacked and fired tear gas to clear the huge square opposite the National Assembly, after rioters climbed onto scaffolding at a restoration site and armed themselves with wood. They threw fireworks and threw rocks at the police in a dead end.

On Thursday evening, the security forces attacked and used water cannons to clear the area, then small groups set fires in the streets in clean neighborhoods nearby. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told RTL radio that 310 people were arrested overnight, most of them in Paris.

Small, mostly sporadic, demonstrations took place in cities across France, from a march in Bordeaux to a march in Toulouse. Calais port officers temporarily prevented ferries from crossing the English Channel to Dover. Some universities were closed in Paris and protesters occupied a busy ring road around the French capital.

Paris garbage collectors have continued their strike for a 12th day, with stinking piles of rubbish turning up in the French capital every day. The striking sanitation workers continued to shut down Europe’s largest incinerator and two other waste treatment sites in Paris.

Some yellow vest activists, who staged mass protests against Macron’s economic policies during his first term in office, were among those relaying the Paris protest on Friday on social media. According to the police, the “extreme yellow vests” were among the rioters during the protest marches.

Unions organized by the opposition urged the demonstrators to remain peaceful in further strikes and marches in the coming days. They are not suitable for genders to quit their schools, their uses, their raffineries, and autres lieux de travail to force Macron to abandon his son’s projet de faire travailler les French deux ans de plus, jusqu’à 64 ans, avant de toucher une retraite à taux Fill.

Macron took a calculated risk by ordering Bernie to invoke a special constitutional power she had used 10 times before without causing an outcry.

If the vote of no confidence fails, the bill becomes law. If the majority agrees, the pension reform plan will be terminated and the government forced to resign, although Macron could still rename Bourne to appoint the new government.

“We’re not going to stop,” CGT union representative Regis Vesely told The Associated Press on Friday. He said that flooding the streets with discontent and refusing to continue working was “the only way to rein them in”.

Macron has made proposed pension changes a top priority in his second term, arguing that reform is needed to make the French economy more competitive and prevent the pension system from falling into deficit. France, like many rich countries, faces low birth rates and a longer life expectancy.

Macron’s conservative allies in the Senate passed the bill, but the frantic number of lawmakers in the Chamber of Deputies on Thursday showed a slight risk that he might not reach a majority, so Macron decided to invoke Article 49-3 of the constitution to get around. vote.

Working through a no-confidence motion will be difficult — none have succeeded since 1962, and Macron’s centrist coalition still holds the most seats in the National Assembly. A minority of conservatives may move away from the Republican line, but it remains to be seen if they are ready to bring down Macron’s government.


Sorc reported from Nice, France. Associated Press reporters Eileen Ganley, Alex Turnbull and Nicholas Garriga contributed to this report.

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