Tuesday, March 7, 2023

France paralyzed by pension reform protests

pension reform protests

Nationwide strikes and rallies against pension reform have caused major traffic disruptions and paralyzed oil refineries and universities in France, after trade unions called for the country to be brought “to a halt.”

As the latest wave of protests against the government’s plan to raise the retirement age to 64 from 62 entered their sixth day, trade unions announced that “more than two million people” would take part in rallies on Tuesday. 

For comparison, on January 31, the biggest day of demonstrations so far, some 1.27 million took part, according to official figures.

 Marches started in the early morning across the country, with crowds blocking major higher education establishments including Rennes II University and Lyon II University, according to footage on social media and local media reports.

Protesters erected barricades in front of a bus depot in La Roche-sur-Yon, a city in western France. Students also blocked a bus depot at Saint-Denis Pleyel, near Paris, before being pushed back by security forces.

At least 100 people blocked the RN 24 highway connecting Rennes and Lorient in western France, according to student organization Le Poing Leve (The Raised Fist). The group claimed the police used tear gas to disperse the gatherings.

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