France is gripped by protests again, but Macron is not backing down

PARIS – Protesters disrupted traffic at Paris’ main airport and rallied again in other French cities on Thursday for strikes and demonstrations to pressure President Emmanuel Macron to scrap pension reforms that have ignited a months-long firestorm of public anger.

In Paris, pied pipers set the tone by throwing the carcasses of rodents at City Hall. Wednesday’s protest was one of the most shocking examples of how Macron’s plans to raise the national retirement age from 62 to 64 have infuriated workers. Broadcaster BFM-TV showed the emaciated corpses of the rodents being thrown around by workers in white hazmat suits.

Natacha Pommet, a leader of the CGT public services union, said Thursday that the Paris Pied Pipers “wanted to show the harsh reality of their mission” and that anger over Macron’s pension reforms is turning into a broader movement of workers to voice their opinion on the Expression brings complaints about salaries and other problems.

“All this anger brings all kinds of anger together,” she said in a phone interview.

Ten previous rounds of nationwide strikes and protests since January have not persuaded Macron to change course, and there has been no sign from his government that the 11th

conversations between Union leader and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne quickly dissipated without a breakthrough on Wednesday, giving protesters a chance to return to the streets.

At Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, about 100 protesters blocked a road leading to Terminal 1 on Thursday morning and broke into the terminal building, the airport operator said. Flights were said to be unaffected, but travelers towing luggage would have to weave past flag-waving protesters.

A CGT representative at the airport, Loris Foreman, told BFM-TV the protesters wanted to “show the world and Europe that we don’t want to work until 64”.

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Sarah Y. Kim

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