Tensions rose in Paris and other cities of France during anti-pension reform protests on Labor Day. At least 108 police injured in 1 May protests in cities across France.
Workers and trade unions in France took to the streets on Labor Day to protest the government’s pension reform.
Last month, Macron signed into law an unpopular rise in the minimum eligible age for state pensions from 62 to 64, despite months of strikes. There had been sporadic unrest and clashes with police after an executive order was used to push the law through parliament without a vote, notes ‘The Guardian’.
Macron and the government are now trying to move on from the pensions crisis, with the president making several visits to provincial France in recent days, but protesters have booed and banged pots and pans. Trade unions said the mood of anger in France had not subsided.
Workers’ outrage over the government’s pension reform has not subsided since January, with trade unions vowing to hold another day of mass mobilization on Labor Day across France.
People early in the 1 May morning started to gather in the cities of Nantes, Lyon, Marseille, and Strasbourg, and a rally began in the afternoon in Paris, French daily Le Figaro reported.
The General Confederation of Labor counted 2.3 million protesters nationwide, including 550,000 in Paris, local broadcaster BFMTV reported. Unions had called for a big turnout and the demonstrations were larger than standard Labour Day marches, with hundreds of thousands attending about 300 demonstrations across France.
French police fired teargas and clashed with demonstrators in Paris and other cities after trade unions transformed traditional Labour Day marches into anti-government demonstrations against the rise in the retirement age.
At least 108 police were wounded and 291 people detained across France as violence erupted in several cities on the sidelines of the main union-led marches, the interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, said. In Paris, 25 police were injured and 111 people were detained. One police officer suffered serious burns to his hands and face after being hit by a petrol bomb, he said.
The far-right leader Marine Le Pen, whose National Rally is the biggest opposition party in parliament, held a May Day gathering in the Normandy port of Le Havre, accusing Macron of stoking tensions in society.