Anger over Macron’s pension push is spreading in France

PARIS – Protesters disrupted traffic in Paris on Friday as angry critics, political opponents and unions across France blasted President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to force a law to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 without a vote by Parliament .

Opposition parties were expected to start proceedings for a vote of no confidence in the government led by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne later on Friday. The vote is expected to take place early next week.

macron Borne on Thursday ordered a special constitutional power to pass the hugely unpopular pensions bill without a vote in the National Assembly, France’s lower house of parliament.

His calculated risk enraged opposition MPs, many citizens and trade unions. Thousands gathered in protest on the Place de la Concorde opposite the National Assembly building on Thursday. As night fell, police officers attacked the protesters in waves to clear the square. Small groups then made their way through the surrounding streets to the chic Champs-Elysees. Neighborhood setting street fires.

Similar scenes were repeated in numerous other cities, from Rennes and Nantes in eastern France to Lyon and the southern port city of Marseille, where shop windows and bank facades were smashed, according to French media.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told radio station RTL on Friday that 310 people had been arrested overnight. Most of the arrests, 258, were made in Paris, according to Darmanin.

The unions that had organized Strikes and demonstrations against a higher retirement age said more rallies and protest marches would take place in the coming days. “This pension reform is brutal, unjust, unjustified for the world of workers,” they declared.

Macron did The proposed pension changes the main priority his second term, arguing that reform was needed to prevent the pension system from going into deficit as France, like many richer nations, faces lower birth rates and longer life expectancy.

Macron chose it summon the special power during a cabinet meeting minutes before a scheduled vote in the National Assembly, where the legislation offered no guarantee of majority support. The Senate passed the bill earlier Thursday.

Opposition MPs called for the government to resign. If the expected motion of no-confidence, which requires more than half the Assembly’s approval, goes through, it would be a first since 1962 and would force the government to resign.

Macron could reappoint Borne if he so wished, and a new cabinet would be appointed. Should the application not be successful, the pension law would be deemed to have been adopted.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Anger over Macron’s pension push is spreading in France

Sarah Y. Kim

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