Marches, strikes across France against pension reforms
Paris, Feb 7 (EFE).- Thousands of people across France marched on Tuesday, the third such mobilization in three weeks, to protest president Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms that would see the minimum retirement age raised from 62 to 64 years.
The third wave of walkouts following the first two days of strike action last month comes as the government aims to raise the pensionable age from 62 to 64. The legislation is yet to secure a majority in the parliament.
The largest rally was in the capital, Paris.
Organizers of the marches on Tuesday were hoping to surpass attendance figures from the last rally, which saw 1.272 million people take to the streets, according to police, while the unions said 2.8 million had turned out.
Protesters are hoping that their rallies and strikes will force Macron to abandon his reform plans, like the right-wing president Jacques Chirac had to do in 1995.
In addition to the strike among teaching staff, several universities and secondary schools across the country were blockaded on Tuesday by their own students.
France’s two largest unions, the CFDT and CGT, as well as left-wing parties, have condemned Macron’s government for not listening to public opinion, which is staunchly opposed to the reforms.
“It is democratic madness to turn a deaf ear,” denounced CFDT secretary general Laurent Berger.
“Seventy percent of the population opposes it, the whole of the trade union and workers’ organizations oppose it,” said Manuel Bompard, MP and coordinator of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Insoumise party.
The leader of the Socialists, MP Olivier Faure, warned that “a government cannot maintain itself for long against its own people”, while the Communist leader, MP Fabien Roussel, predicted that “victory is within reach if the left remains united”.
The next mobilization against Macron’s pension plans will be on Saturday, February 11. EFE