Almost 1 million people marched in France in the third major protest against the pension reform promoted by Macron

A demonstration against the French government’s pension reform plan in Paris (REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier) (SARAH MEYSSONNIER/)

Massive marches organized by unions and supported by left-wing parties demanded this Tuesday in France, for the third time in three weeks, the withdrawal of Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform, which includes an extension of the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 years.

The mobilization, which occurs when the text has just begun to be debated in tense sessions of the National Assembly, included, like the two previous ones (January 19 and 31), partial strikes in several key sectors of the countrysuch as transport, education and energy.

One of the challenges this Tuesday will be to overcome the record numbers of January 31, when the police counted 1.272 million people on the streets, while the unions calculated 2.8 million.

“I am going to turn 60, at 62 I could enjoy a full retirement, but with the reform I will have to work nine more months. It’s unfair, especially with women”, he protested in statements to the news agency EFE Anne, a graphic artist who is a member of the Paris march, the main one in France.

This protester, resident in the Parisian periphery, considered that Macron’s plan penalizes women moresince the eight quarters per child that they are currently counted for the pension allows them to retire before 62. With the reform, the majority will have to work until they are 64.

The sign says
The sign says “Macron, let’s live our retirement” (REUTERS/Christian Hartmann) (CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/)

A short distance from the monumental Opera Garnier, Thierry, a 57-year-old construction worker, denounced, for his part, the advance to 2027 of the one-year rise (from 42 to 43) in the contribution necessary to enjoy a full pension.

“It’s too much,” said this member of the union of the French Democratic Labor Confederation (CFDT), who was optimistic about the result of popular pressure.

“Macron, for now, remains firm, but we will make him kneel, because the people are in the streets and screaming,” he added. The participants hope that the Executive will finally back down with the reform, as happened in 1995 under the presidency of the conservative Jacques Chirac.

In addition to the strike among educational staff, Many universities and secondary schools across the country were blocked today by their own students.

As in the other two mobilizations, the union organizations led the demonstrations. The CFDT, the main one in France, and the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), the second in importance, reproached Macron and his government for their “deafness” in the face of the opposition of public opinion, mostly against the current reform.

A protester with a mask representing French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne (REUTERS / Sarah Meyssonnier)
A protester with a mask representing French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne (REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier) (SARAH MEYSSONNIER/)

“It is democratic madness to turn a deaf ear”denounced the general secretary of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, while Philippe Martínez, leader of the CGT, complained that the Executive has decided to limit the parliamentary debate of its reform bill to two months: “It is almost an insult for the that are mobilized”.

The leaders of the leftist parties, who are trying to hinder the processing of the reform in the Assembly with a barrage of amendments, attended the Parisian protest.

Progressive Coalition Spokespersons nupes (made up of the Socialist Party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise, the EELV environmentalists and the Communist Party) insisted on how unpopular the reform is.

“70% of the population opposes itall the trade union organizations and workers oppose it”, declared Manuel Bompard, deputy and coordinator of France Insoumise.

The leader of the Socialists, the deputy Olivier Faure, warned that “A government cannot hold out for long against its own people”while the communist leader, Fabien Roussel, also a deputy, predicted that “victory is within reach if the left remains united.”

The next call against Macron’s pension plan will be this Saturday, February 11, when the organizers hope to have more protesters in the streets.

(With information from EFE and EP)

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