Protests Resume Across France After Macron Forced Through Contested Pension Reform

Protests Resume Across France After Macron Forced Through Contested Pension Reform

People took to the streets across France on Saturday after President Emmanuel Macron imposed an unpopular pension overhaul without a parliament vote.

Macron’s government on Thursday invoked a controversial executive power to force through the bill by decree, which is legal according to the constitution.

The move has caused outrage among the political class as well as angry protests in the street, presenting the 45-year-old leader with one of his biggest challenges less than a year into his second and final mandate.

The president has since Thursday not made any public comments on the bill to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 or the ensuing popular discontent.

A source within his circle however told AFP on Saturday evening that he was “following developments”.

Police on Saturday banned gatherings on a key Paris square opposite parliament after two nights of unrest at the site, but protesters still rallied for a march in another part of the capital.

Among them, a 55-year-old woman, who only gave her surname as Allemand, said she was there because she couldn’t wait until she was 64 to retire.

“I’m already exhausted,” said the public health sector employee.

“I sit in front of a computer screen all day. My eyes hurt, my head hurts and I’ve already had two blood clots.”

‘Fed up’

Many also demonstrated in other towns and cities around the country on Saturday after regional unions called for a weekend of protests.

“We’re fed up. We feel like we’re being trampled on and no one is listening,” she said.

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