New protest in Paris against pension reform: police launch tear gas

Training of the riot police in Paris (Reuters) (BENOIT TESSIER /)

The workers They demonstrated this Monday throughout France for protest against raising the retirement age decreed by President Emmanuel Macron, and the police fired tear gas in Paris and in the western city of nantesas protesters joined Labor Day rallies.

Macron’s popularity has plummeted to levels close to record lows reached during the “yellow vest” crisis, after he cracked down on unions and multi-sector strikes and raised the retirement age by two years, to 64.

The move cemented discontent against a president perceived by many as indifferent to their day-to-day problems, and Macron has been greeted with boos and pan-banging when he confronts citizens at marches.

Protesters kick teargas pellets towards police lines during clashes as part of a demonstration on May Day (Labour Day), to mark the international day of the workers, more than a month after the government pushed an unpopular pensions reform act through parliament, in Bordeaux, southwestern France, on May 1, 2023. - Opposition parties and trade unions have urged protesters to maintain their three-month campaign against the law that will hike the retirement age to 64 from 62. (Photo by Thibaud MORITZ / AFP)
Protester kicks a tear gas in Bordeaux (AFP) (THIBAUD MORITZ /)
Destroyed garbage containers in Nantes (Reuters)
Destroyed garbage containers in Nantes (Reuters) (STEPHANE MAHE /)

Sophie Binet, leader of the far-left union CGT, said the pension reform had left Macron isolated. “The executive cannot govern without the support of its peopleBinet said before the Paris protest, adding that his union had not yet decided on talks with the government on other labor-related issues in the coming weeks.

Laurent Berger, head of the reformist CFDT union, said the Macron government had made deaf ears to demands of one of the most powerful social movements in decades.

He said his union was open to discussions with the government and rejected suggestions that a rare alliance between the main unions was being tested now that the pension bill had become law. “We must put other proposals on wages and working conditions on the table,” he told bfm tv.

Protest in Nantes (Reuters)
Protest in Nantes (Reuters) (STEPHANE MAHE /)

In the rest of Europe, they are planned union protests throughout Germany. In Italythe three main unions held a rally in the southern city of Potenza to protest against the package of labor measures approved by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

In northern Turin, anti-government protesters paraded with a doll of Meloni raising its arm in fascist salute, while in Rome an open-air concert organized by the unions was planned, an Italian Labor Day tradition.

In Swiss, a parade through Zurich took place without serious incidents, according to the Zurich police. The protesters threw water balloons at emergency services, broke the windows of at least two banks and spray painted some buildings.

Environmentalists throw paint at the Louis Vuitton Foundation

The facade of the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, an art museum, was covered in paint on Monday, the environmental organization Extinction Rebellion said, and another environmental group sprayed the Justice Ministry, located on Place Vendôme.

In a video posted on Twitter by independent journalist Clement Lanot, a group of activists can be seen spraying the private museum with orange and pink paint, which is closed this Monday.

Activists throw paint at a Louis Vuitton headquarters
Activists throw paint at a Louis Vuitton headquarters

Extinction Rebellion activists threw the paint onto the glass facades using “fire extinguishers” and “paint bombs” made from “small balloons,” a spokesperson for the organization told AFP.

The group said that with this operation it seeks to criticize the LVMH group, to which Louis Vuitton belongs, since it accuses it of “fiscal optimization”, a practice to pay less taxes.

“In this social context in which there are French people who give up one meal a day due to inflation, the health of large groups is indecent,” justified the spokesman for environmentalists.

The spokesman added that “the wage and social demands of the unions” have his full support, referring to the May 1 demonstration this Monday in Paris for International Workers’ Day.

(With information from Reuters and AFP)

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