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Violent protests in France over Macron's pension reforms

The retirement age was raised from 62 to 64 without a vote

France pension scheme People attend a demonstration on Place de la Concorde to protest over the recent pension reforms | Reuters

Protests erupted in different parts of central Paris in France over the French government's recent pension reforms. Demonstrators clashed with the police. They lit fires and threw firecrackers at the police.

Riot police was dispersed in several regions and they had to use tear gas to disperse the protesters.

President Emmanuel Macron decided to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 without a vote in the National Assembly. It led to a series of protests from people and unions in the country. Macron reportedly decided to invoke the constitution's Article 49-3 to bypass a vote as they were at the risk of falling short of a majority.

No-confidence motions have been filed against his government in response.

The first motion was signed by the independents and the members of the left-wing Nupes coalition in Parliament, while the second was from the far-right National Rally party, reported BBC.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally MPs in parliament, called the decision to push through the pension changes "a total failure for the government,” reported BBC.

Police arrested several during the protests at Place de la Concorde. Reportedly over 300 protesters were arrested.

On Friday, protests also took place in other French cities including Bordeaux, Toulcon and Strasbourg.

Transport, public services and schools have all been affected. Even the fuel deliveries has been blocked.

"Changing the government or prime minister will not putout this fire, only withdrawing the reform," the head of the moderate CFDT union, Laurent Berger was quoted by BBC.

On Thursday night, security forces charged and used water cannons to evacuate the area, and small groups then set street fires in neighbourhoods nearby.

Meanwhile, Paris garbage collectors extended their strike for a 12th day, with piles of rubbish growing daily in the French capital.

However, the trade unions urged the opposition to remain peaceful during more strikes and marches in the days ahead.

Macron has made the proposed pension changes the key priority of his second term arguing that the reform is needed to make the French economy competitive. Macron's conservative allies in the Senate passed the bill.


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