This Thursday a new day of strike and demonstrations after the adoption of the unpopular pension reform of the liberal president Emmanuel Macronwhich increased tension with the unions.
Macron said on Wednesday to assume the “unpopularity” of a reform that he wants to see applied “by the end of the year” and charged against the unions and the opposition, as well as against the “seditious” who organized harsh spontaneous protests a week ago.
“This statement will fuel anger”, he warned on the radio RTL the general secretary of the CGT, Philippe Martinezwho described as “scandalous” the comparison that Macron made of the demonstrations with the US Capitol riots in 2021 or in Brazil in January.
The leader of the union, CFDT, Laurent Berger, recalled for his part that “a 94% of active workers reject this reform, which does not have a majority in the National Assemblyl (…) and that the street has been rejecting en masse for more than two and a half months”
The unions are the spearhead since January of the response against the delay of the retirement age from 62 to 64 years by 2030 and the advancement to 2027 of the requirement to contribute 43 years, and not 42 as now, to collect a pension complete.
On March 7, they managed to mobilize between 1.28 million and 3.5 million people, in the largest protests against a social reform in three decades, but this Thursday’s demonstration is the first since Macron imposed his plan by decree.
On Wednesday they received an accolade from some 300 cultural professionalsincluding actresses Juliette Binoche and camille cottinwhich in a forum published in the newspaper Liberation They called for the withdrawal of an “unfair” reform.
This Thursday’s day will be crucial for the ability of unions to keep a mobilization alive, even more so when The reform awaits the final approval of the Constitutional Council and the protests tend to become radicalized and atomized.
“It is important to reinforce the mobilization and strikes if we want to break the government”, said Yann Lucas, a 44-year-old professor at the University of Strasbourg, recalling that in 2006 the withdrawal of a controversial youth contract was achieved despite being adopted.
The unions announced around 50% strikers in schools, which could also be numerous in the energy and transport sectors. In the Paris metro, the FO-RATP central called for a “black day”.
Several actions to block oil tanks, ports, highways and universities, among others, were carried out on Wednesday in France, where The fuel shortage is beginning to be felt at 14% of gas stations.
The police anticipate “between 600,000 and 800,000 people in some 320 actions” and expect radical protesters in Paris and in “more than a dozen cities (…), encouraged by the climate of violence in recent days.”
Since March 16, when the government adopted the reform by decree fearing it would lose the vote in the Assembly, hundreds of people, mostly young people, have gone out every night to protest, burning containers and blocking streets followed by the police.
Nearly a thousand people were arrestedsome arrests that International Amnesty described as “arbitrary arrests”. The left opposition, lawyers, magistrates and the ombudsman expressed their concern about the police action.
(With information from EFE)
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