More than 1 million take part in France pension protests, tear gas fired, town hall blazed
A town hall in Bordeaux was set on fire as more than 1 million protestors took to the streets against pension reform in France and police fired tear gas on the demonstrators in different cities.
A town hall was burned down in Bordeaux and police fired tear gas on protestors in different cities
By India Today World Desk: More than one million people took part in the protests against pension reform in France, with 119,000 in Paris alone, according to figures given by the country’s interior ministry. The CGT union told Reuters that 3.5 million people marched in the country.
A town hall in Bordeaux was set on fire during the protests but it is not clear who was responsible for the blaze. The fire was quickly brought under control by firefighters.
ALSO READ | French President Macron pushes pension reform as protests escalate
TEAR GAS FIRED
The protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the pension age by two years to 64, entered its ninth day on Thursday. The demonstrations in central Paris were generally peaceful, but tensions ran high in Bordeaux and Lyon.
In Lyon, police fired tear gas after protesters set bins on fire. According to a report by the Le Figaro daily, a local news agency, protesters also targeted banks and threw bottles at police in Lyon.
Police also fired tear gas at protesters in several other cities, including Nantes, and Lorient in the west, Lille in the north, and used water cannon against others in Rennes in the northwest, reported Reuters.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 123 police officers were injured and 80 people arrested across the country.
Labour unions warned that the protests could turn more violent if the government does not heed the growing anger over the pension reform. Unions called for new nationwide strikes and protests on March 28, the day Britain’s King Charles III is due to travel to Bordeaux from Paris by train.
The protests, which have been going on since January, took a violent turn after the government’s decision last week to push the pension changes through parliament without a vote.
President Emmanuel Macron said he would press on with plans to raise the pension age. “Do you think I enjoy doing this reform? No,” Macron said in a TV interview. “But there are not a hundred ways to balance the accounts … this reform is necessary.”