25 avril 2024

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Pension reform: NATIONAL MOBILIZATION

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In opposition to the pension reform, the unions demonstrated against the pension reform and the contempt of Emmanuel Macron.

In opposition to the pension reform, the unions demonstrated against the pension reform and the contempt of Emmanuel Macron. For this ninth day of the strike, the route of the Parisian procession took place from the Bastille to Opéra.

According to the CGT, 3.5 million people beat the pavement this Thursday for this ninth day of demonstration against the pension reform. They were 1.089 million, says the Ministry of the Interior. In Paris, 119,000 demonstrators have been identified by the authorities, against 880,000 for the CGT. The mobilization broke a record in the capital, since the beginning of the movement.

The protests against the pension reform wanted by Emmanuel Macron and the government of Elisabeth Borne are not weakening. On the contrary. This Thursday, March 23, 2023, a new mobilization was held in Paris and throughout France. To the refusal of the pension reform was added anger towards the President of the Republic after his appearance on France 2 and TF1, Wednesday March 22.

After the first clashes on Place de la République, trash fires were lit upstream of the main route. The demonstrators try to put them out before the head of the procession arrives. At Porte Saint-Martin, a hooded crowd chanted “everyone hates the police” while advertising signs were smashed.

The McDonald’s located at the corner of boulevards Sébastopol and Saint-Denis was targeted by several individuals, the windows were broken. Another nearby fast food was attacked as well as a convenience store on Boulevard Saint-Martin.

The police intervened to repel the militants, while barricades were erected. The firefighters also intervened to put out the trash fires.

Clashes between activists and the police intensified at the Boulevard de Bonne-Nouvelle. Tear gas is used to respond to projectiles and fireworks. An incendiary device was thrown into a bank.

Part of the procession arrives at Opéra in the rush of demonstrators repelled by the police who sometimes give the impression of being overwhelmed and do not skimp on tear gas canisters. The union procession did not arrive.

The situation is still tense in Paris and the arrests are continuing. 103 people have been arrested since the start of the demonstration according to a count by the Prefecture of Police.

The Place de l’Opéra has emptied, but tensions and damage are observed in the adjacent streets. According to journalists on the spot, garbage cans mounted in barricades are set on fire everywhere, while thousands of demonstrators head for the Place de la République.

In Paris, the Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire is blocked by an improvised barricade. Groups of young people descend towards Bastille. “We’re not stopping! “. A group of two hundred people, many of them young, go up the rue de la Roquette. “It’s strike, blockage, wild demonstration”, sing the demonstrators, setting up roadblocks to slow down the police.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin spoke this evening after the events that occurred on the sidelines of the demonstrations against the pension reform. The Minister of the Interior first thanked the agents and prefects “who made it possible for the day to go as smoothly as possible” for the demonstrators.

He nevertheless denounced the presence in the processions of about “1,500 thugs”, “there to break cops and public buildings”. “The violence will not pass,” he said, adding that investigations were already open. “The protests are over,” Darmanin said, calling on protesters to “go home.”

According to the Ministry of the Interior, 140 fires have been counted in Paris, and around fifty are still ongoing. 172 arrests took place today in France, including 77 in the capital, and according to the Prefecture of Police before 8:00 p.m., and 46 after 10:00 p.m. in Paris.

The minister reports that 149 police and gendarmes have been injured, “some seriously”, adding that 350 officers have been injured since the protests began.

12,000 police and gendarmes were mobilized Thursday in France, including 5,000 in Paris, for this ninth day of inter-union action against the pension reform.

The Ministry of National Education gave Thursday afternoon an assessment of the number of establishments affected by blockages this Thursday. “148 incidents in high schools in France” were noted: “38 blockages, 70 filter blockages, 14 attempted blockages and 26 other forms of disturbance such as gatherings, a localized power cut in an establishment or a trash fire” .

Demonstrators against the pension reform were significantly more numerous Thursday in many cities for this ninth day of mobilization, according to figures from unions and authorities.

In Rouen, the prefecture counted 14,800 demonstrators, a record since the start of the social movement, while the CGT claimed 23,000. Participation also rose sharply in Lyon (between 22,000 and 55,000 people), Brest (20 000 to 40,000) or Montpellier (18,000 to 40,000). The revival compared to the previous day of mobilization was also observed in medium-sized cities such as Agen (4,000 to 6,000), Laval (5,200 to 9,600) or Valenciennes (3,100 according to the police).

If the estimates varied most often from simple to double, certain cities stood out for more pronounced differences, in particular Saint-Etienne (6,200 to 35,000), Nice (5,200 to 40,000) and Marseille, where the prefecture counted 16,000 demonstrators, seventeen times less than the 280,000 put forward by the CGT.

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