Paris, France | BAZZUP | According to the French ministry of the interior, over a million people participated in nationwide demonstrations on Thursday against the government’s plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
However, the General Confederation of Workers (CGT), the largest union in France, said that the statewide protest had drawn almost 3.5 million participants.
Since French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne last week activated a constitutional provision that permitted the government to force the approval of the pension reform law, Thursday’s actions marked the ninth statewide mass mobilization action.
The interior ministry ordered the deployment of 12,000 police officers around the nation on Thursday, including 5,000 in Paris, out of concern for a wave of violent acts.
While the majority of the protests were peaceful, some protesters throughout the nation disregarded pleas from union officials for non-violent protests and engaged in violence against police, injuring at least 123 members of the security forces, according to French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
To finally disperse the protesters, the French police used tear gas and police dogs.
The “unacceptable” violence that had followed the pension reform rallies was denounced by the prime minister on social media.
Many famous landmarks, like the Palace of Versailles and the Eiffel Tower, had to be closed on Thursday as a result of the strikes.
King Charles III of the United Kingdom and French President Emmanuel Macron were set to have supper in the Palace of Versailles during the latter’s planned state visit, however the French presidential office announced the location would be moved due to security concerns.
The strike will continue until Friday, according to the announcements made by the French national railroad firm SNCF and the country’s aviation authorities.
9,500 tons of trash are still awaiting collection in the city as the sanitation workers in Paris have extended their strike through March 27.
Additionally, the 10th general mobilization action has already been set for March 28 by the unions.
The French government’s contentious pension reform plan is regarded as passed without a vote in the lower chamber of parliament because two no-confidence motions against it on Monday failed to win a majority in the National Assembly.
The pension reform proposal from Macron’s administration should become law “before the end of the year,” he said on Wednesday.
According to the reform proposal, a guaranteed minimum pension would be implemented and the legal retirement age would be raised from 62 to 64 by three months per year starting in 2030. The proposal also mandates that in order to be eligible for a full pension as of 2027, you must have worked for at least 43 years.