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French President Macron pushes pension reform as protests escalate

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French President Emmanuel Macron mentioned he would press on with plans to lift the pension age as protests in opposition to the reform escalate throughout the nation.

French President Emmanuel Macron mentioned he would press on with plans to lift the pension age. (Reuters picture)

By Reuters: French President Emmanuel Macron drew an offended response from unions and opposition events on Wednesday when he mentioned he would press on with plans to lift the pension age, rejecting requires a U-turn in response to rising public anger.

Unions mentioned a ninth nationwide day of protests and strikes on Thursday would draw large crowds in opposition to what they described as Macron’s “scorn” and “lies.”

“Do you think I enjoy doing this reform? No,” Macron mentioned in a TV interview. “But there are not a hundred ways to balance the accounts … this reform is necessary.”

ALSO READ | Paris police, protesters conflict for third night time over Macron’s pension reform

Polls present a large majority of French are against the pension laws, which can increase the age at which one can draw a pension by two years to 64.

Protests in opposition to the invoice have drawn large crowds in rallies organised by unions since January.

Most have been peaceable, however anger has mounted for the reason that authorities pushed the invoice by means of parliament with no vote final week. The previous six nights have seen fierce demonstrations throughout France with bins set ablaze and scuffles with police.

Protesters on Wednesday additionally blocked prepare stations within the southern cities of Nice and Toulouse.

“Between … polls and the general interest of the country, I choose the general interest,” Macron mentioned, decrying “extreme violence” which he at one level in comparison with the January 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

ALSO READ | France’s Emmanuel Macron wins Pyrrhic victory on pension invoice, dangers fuelling anger

Aides had mentioned the TV interview could be geared toward “calming things down.” And Macron, whereas saying he had “no regrets” added that he wished to enhance his fraught relationship with labour unions and contain them extra in future selections.

But preliminary reactions confirmed his feedback may need had the alternative impact.

“Lies!,” the average, reform-minded Laurent Berger, head of the CFDT, France’s largest union, tweeted, accusing Macron of “rewriting history” after he mentioned unions had not supplied an alternative choice to his pension invoice.


Philippe Martinez, who leads the extra hardline CGT union, instructed French media that Macron was mocking staff with what he referred to as an “outlandish” interview.

“The best response we can give the president is to have millions of people on strike and in the streets tomorrow,” Martinez mentioned.

ALSO READ | Paris sees huge protests over pension overhaul; barricades burnt, tear gasoline fired

Thursday’s strike will see prepare site visitors severely disrupted, with airports additionally affected, and academics amongst many professions strolling off the job, whereas rolling strikes at oil depots and refineries and amongst rubbish collectors keep it up.

The ongoing protests may affect a deliberate state go to subsequent week of Britain’s King Charles, a Buckingham Palace supply mentioned.

The newest wave of protests and violence represents essentially the most critical problem to the French president’s authority for the reason that “Yellow Vest” revolt 4 years in the past.

“He fanned the flames,” Laurent Delaporte, a CGT union chief within the port of Le Havre mentioned of Macron’s interview. “How can we hear that the street has no legitimacy?”

The interview was broadcast on lunch-hour information bulletins largely watched by pensioners, the one demographic that’s not lifeless set in opposition to the reform, which far-right chief Marine Le Pen mentioned confirmed disdain for staff.

“He insults all French people, in general, all those who … are protesting,” Le Pen mentioned.

While the opposition has referred to as for Macron to fireplace his prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, who has been on the forefront of the pension reform, Macron backed her and mentioned that he had tasked her to work on new reforms.

None of that satisfied a gaggle of union members watching the interview within the southern France metropolis of Nice.

“Tomorrow we will be on the streets again to demonstrate against the pension reform and demand its withdrawal,” mentioned certainly one of them, CFDT union member Sophie Trastour.

ALSO READ | Parents in France might be accountable for punishment in the event that they share photographs of their youngsters on social media

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chingkheinganbi mayengbam

Published On:

Mar 23, 2023