On the eve of the general strike called for Thursday by the main unions in France, thousands of citizens have taken to the streets of the capital, Paris, and other parts of the country for the seventh consecutive night to protest the approved pension reform.
A group of protesters linked to the National Federation of Spectacle, Cinema, Audiovisual and Action Unions interrupted a show at the Châtelet theater on Wednesday, while other protest actions have taken place in the capital, such as spontaneous protests in the Montmartre and Stalingrad districts, among others.
This scenario has been repeated again in other parts of France, with notable protests in Bordeauxwhere the demonstrators have launched fireworks against the Police, as well as in Lille or in lyonswhere there have been moments of tension.
In the midst of the actions of the Police to disperse the protesters, the National Union of Journalists has denounced “arbitrary arrests” of informers in recent days with the aim of “preventing them from capturing images” of the security forces, as reported by the newspaper le parisien.
This occurs after International Amnesty (AI) has warned “about the widespread use of excessive force and the arbitrary arrests of informers” in the framework of the protests against the pension reform.
The French President, Emmanuel Macronstated this Wednesday that he expects his pension reform to enter into force “at the end of the year” and described as “seditious” to the demonstrators who hardened the protests since that unpopular measure was adopted by decree.
“This reform is necessary. It doesn’t make me happy. I would have preferred not to do it,” said the Liberal president in a 35-minute interview on the main television channels, the private TF1 and the public French 2, assuming the “unpopularity” of the measure.
france lives a very tense social context with a wave of spontaneous protestsmarked by violence, since Thursday and his interview does not seem to calm things down, the eve of a new day of mobilization at the request of the unions.
Your statements are “a contempt for the millions of people who demonstrate”said Philippe Martinez, leader of the CGT union. Macron “has added more embers to a well-lit grill,” estimated the head of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure.
Since January, the government has faced strong rejection of its plan to delay the retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030 and to advance to 2027 the requirement to contribute 43 years, and not 42, to collect a full pension.
In addition to the massive demonstrations since January, on March 7 a extendable strike in key sectors such as energy and transport and a range of actions: garbage accumulated in the streets of Paris, blocking roads, ports, universities, etc.
But the tension exploded on Thursday when Macron and his Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne announced its adoption by decree, as they feared losing the vote in the National Assembly (lower house), even with the support of the right-wing opposition.
Since that day, Paris and other cities have recorded undeclared protests every night, in which protesters, mostly young people, burn containers and other items in their fight with the police.
“We will not tolerate any overflow,” Macron warned, calling these protesters “seditious” and comparing them to those who stormed the Capitol in the United States in 2021 and the institutions in Brazil in January.
The day before, in a meeting with pro-government legislators, he already warned that the “crowd” and the “riots” had no “legitimacy” over the representatives of the people, statements criticized even by his allies.
The security forces are, however, in the point of view for the hundreds of arrests practiced since Thursday, which in the vast majority of cases result in a release without charge.
(With information from AFP and EP)
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