Eight days before the decision of the Constitutional Council on the pension reform, the unions are organizing an eleventh day of mobilization on Thursday, April 6, 2023, hoping for a new show of force while discussions with the government are at an impasse.
The unions are lined up along the sparse Esplanade des Invalides before the 2 p.m. departure. The number of civil servants on strike against the pension reform rose slightly, the rate of strikers in local authorities and hospitals being 0.5 point higher than that of the last day of mobilization.
In the hospital public service (1.2 million agents), it goes up to 5.9% against 5.4% during the previous day of mobilization. On the other hand, in the largest side of the public sector, the State civil service (2.5 million agents), the rate of strikers is identical to that of March 28 and reaches 6.5% at midday. .
Some 8% of teachers went on strike for this eleventh day of inter-union mobilization, the Ministry of Education said in a statement. In detail, 7.97% of teachers were on strike, including 7.87% in primary education and 8.06% in secondary education, according to the ministry. This is below the figures of Snuipp-FSU, the leading union in nursery and elementary schools, which estimated on Wednesday that “around 20%” of primary school teachers would be on strike.
Leaving the Esplanade des Invalides towards Place l’Italie, the Parisian procession passed in front of the famous restaurant La Rotonde, where Emmanuel Macron celebrated in 2017 his qualification for the second round of the presidential election.
A fire broke out after a smoke bomb was thrown at the red awning, as you can see in our reporter’s video below. A woman inside the restaurant first tried to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. The intervention of the firefighters then made it possible to quickly contain the flames.
For several tens of minutes, the union procession has been stopped a hundred meters from the La Rotonde brasserie, targeted by demonstrators and protected by the CRS. The demonstration which was calm now takes place in a cloud of burning garbage cans. The black bloc rained projectiles on the police who attempted two charges – mobile gendarmes and BRAV-M – to disperse them.
A commissioner from an intervention company, in Brav training (Brigade for the repression of violent action), but not motorized (not from the Brav-M therefore) also lost consciousness after having received a cobblestone on the helmet, and was hospitalized, according to a police source.
On this 11th day of mobilization, between 57,000 people, according to the police headquarters, and 400,000 people according to the CGT, marched through the streets of the capital. Clashes with the police erupted on the boulevard du Montparnasse, near La Rotonde, a restaurant where Emmanuel Macron had his habits.
The mobilization gathered Thursday 570,000 people throughout France, according to figures from the Ministry of the Interior. The inter-union claims for its part “nearly two million” demonstrators. During the previous day of mobilization on March 28, between 740,000 people, according to Beauvau, and “more than 2 million”, according to the CGT, had mobilized throughout the country.
Blockades of high schools and university sites again took place in Lyon, Rennes, Lille or Paris, including the center of the Sorbonne in Paris 1, in the Latin Quarter, where a pile of garbage cans and bicycles blocked access to several entries. The university informed students that face-to-face classes on this site could not “run normally”. The Assas University of Law has been blocked for the second time since the start of the movement.
Blocking actions at the gates of major cities caused traffic jams on Thursday morning, particularly in Lyon and Rennes but also around Brest and Caen.
The protection plates of the Crédit Agricole branch located at the top of Boulevard Raspail did not last long. A group of demonstrators in black tore them down, before smashing its windows and rushing in, taking out some pieces of furniture, and trying to start a fire.
The police decide to charge, dispersing the crowd with tear gas canisters, so that the firefighters can intervene. The tension drops a notch, the procession does not advance for all that. The crowd comments on the slightest movement of the CRS who deployed in front of the bank branch before leaving while charging. A CRS is injured in the leg.
A hundred French and Belgian firefighters demonstrated Thursday in Paris, under the Arc de Triomphe, against the pension reform, before joining the procession which marched through the streets of the capital.
The police headquarters confirmed that a gendarme had been injured in the face during the Paris demonstration. Shortly after 6 p.m., the police reported 20 arrests, seven representatives of the police and four demonstrators injured, as well as seven interventions for fires in the capital.
The Socialists oppose an end of inadmissibility to the Prime Minister. In a press release, the presidents of the PS groups in the Senate and the National Assembly, Patrick Kanner and Boris Vallaud, announce this evening that they will not be going to any meeting at Matignon to discuss the future timetable for reforms, as long as the government will not have removed the text.
Gérald Darmanin announces that 111 people were arrested in France and that 154 members of the police were injured today. “Full support for the police, the gendarmes, the firefighters who protect the demonstrators and public and private property”, underlines the Minister of the Interior.
While more than 200 processions set off all over France over the course of the day, violence punctuated several of them, like the clashes and damage observed in the capital, in Nantes or even in Lyon.
The Defender of Rights, Claire Hédon, was present with lawyers in the command room of the police headquarters, invited by the prefect Laurent Nuñez. Recall that his services have received “90” reports for police violence since the start of the protest movement.
We evoke the balance sheets of the members of the forces of order injured during each day of mobilization. Last week, my colleague Catherine Fournier also wondered about the lack of a report on the number of demonstrators injured.
As the police were preparing to arrest Laurence Peuron, a journalist with France Inter who had come to cover the demonstration, she took out her press card. As in the case of our reporter at the demonstration who was the victim of an ambush where they walked on him. Police violence is increasing and affecting the media, as can be seen. How will the Minister of the Interior react when the editorial staff files a complaint against the police?
The CGT du Bas-Rhin and two deputies from Strasbourg denounced police violence during the demonstration against the pension reform on Thursday. “The inter-union order service was violently and deliberately attacked by the police”, said in a press release, with photo and video attached, Laurent Feisthauer, head of CGT 67.
“While the demonstration was far from over, we unrolled a security cordon to prevent the demonstration from being endangered. The police then charged us. Sprayed with tear gas. Then tear gas grenade. And hit us with truncheons and shields (…) The head of the inter-union order service was personally gassed, directly in the eyes, as he tried to negotiate with a police chief. »
Emmanuel Fernandes (LFI) and Sandra Regol (ecologist), also denounced police violence in a letter sent Thursday to the prefect of Bas-Rhin, Josiane Chevalier:
“Elected officials, families, colleagues were in the procession and some suffered batons, others tear gas without warning. »
We hope that we will have a response from the Minister of the Interior concerning the acts of barbarity used by the police, before the human rights issue.
The unions called, Thursday, April 6, for new demonstrations on April 13, the day before the decision of the Constitutional Council on the pension reform. The secretary general of the CFDT hopes that the Elders will censure “the whole of the law” on April 14.