French roads blocked after Macron pension move

Protesters in France are continuing to show their displeasure with President Emmanuel Macron and his administration after they adopted a controversial pension reform plan without a vote in parliament, this time by blocking a key highway around the capital and increasing industrial action at oil refineries.

Photo by AFP

On Friday morning, local media reported that hundreds of protestors stopped traffic on the Paris ring road in opposition to President Macron’s controversial pension reform, which had sparked widespread demonstrations and led to hundreds of arrests overnight.

The media reportedly reported damage in Paris, including a charred automobile, a store window damaged, and a burnt-out public bicycle.CGT union leader Eric Sellini said on Friday that strikers were still delivering less gasoline than usual from many other facilities, and that employees were planning to suspend production at a big refinery by the weekend or Monday at the latest.

TotalEnergies de Normandie workers have previously been on a rolling strike, but stopping production would exacerbate the industrial action.On Thursday afternoon, the Macron government used a contentious constitutional provision to enforce the pension adjustment by decree, bypassing the French parliament in the process. As a result, 310 individuals were arrested throughout France, including 258 in the capital city of Paris, and there were violent riots in cities around the nation.

In France, tensions are rising after a pension proposal was passed without a referendum.

France’s pension plan is adopted without a vote, and the public is fuming.

Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the French parliament to demonstrate against President Emmanuel Macron, and the police had to intervene to clear the plaza.

Monoprix worker and CGT union member Soumaya Gentet, 51, expressed her outrage to the media and vowed to keep protesting until the measure was rescinded.

What the people desire isn’t being considered, Gentet said.

“Macron doesn’t give a fig about the people,” remarked his colleague, Lamia Kerrouzi. “He is unable to communicate with the locals because of this. Removing it is necessary.”

Macron is proposing legislation that would increase the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64, arguing that doing so is necessary to prevent the collapse of the public pension system.

Estimates from the Labor Ministry suggest that if the retirement age was raised by two years and the pay-in period was extended, an extra 17.7 billion euros ($19.18 billion) would be added to the system annually, enabling it to become self-sustaining by 2027.

Two-thirds of French citizens, according to surveys, are against the change and in favour of a protest movement organised by labour unions, which has united in its opposition and warned it would continue to mobilise.

The reform’s detractors say it would hurt the middle class and make those who got their start in physical labour when they were younger work for longer hours. During the last six weeks, strikes have shut down trains, schools, public services, and ports.

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