| 23 June 2024, Sunday |

Protests resume in France amid anger at Macron’s pension age reform

On Saturday, France’s refineries continued to be on strike, and further protests were being held nationwide as a result of the government’s decision to raise the state pension age without parliamentary approval.

The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, is facing the greatest threat to his authority since the so-called “Gilets Jaunes” (Yellow Vests) riots in December 2018 as a result of the escalating discontent and the accumulation of trash on Paris’ streets after refuse workers joined in the demonstration.

Some 37% of operational staff at TotalEnergies‘ refineries and depots – at sites including Feyzin in southeast France and Normandy in the north – were on strike on Saturday, a company spokesperson said.

Meanwhile rolling strikes continued on the railways.

Riot police clashed with protesters on Friday evening in Paris as a demonstration took place at the capital’s Place de la Concorde, near the Assemblee Nationale parliament building, resulting in 61 arrests.

This led the Paris Prefecture on Saturday to ban rallies on Place de la Concorde and the nearby Champs-Elysees.

A further rally was however slated for later on Saturday on Place d’Italie in southern Paris.

Elsewhere in the French capital, a group of students and activists from the “Revolution Permanente” collective briefly invaded the Forum des Halles shopping mall, waving banners calling for a general strike and shouting “Paris stand up, rise up”, videos on social media showed.

BFM television also showed images of demonstrations underway in cities such as Compiegne in the north, Nantes in the west and Marseille in the south.

“There is no place for violence. One must respect parliamentary democracy,” Digital Transition and Telecommunications Minister Jean-Noel Barrot told Sud radio.

A broad alliance of France’s main unions has said it would continue to mobilise to try to force a U-turn on the changes. A day of nationwide industrial action is scheduled for Thursday.

  • Reuters