Thousands take to the streets in France in third major protest against pension reform

Deputies during a plenary session in the French National Assembly. – VINCENT ISORE / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

The main cities of France have welcomed this Tuesday new mass demonstrations against the pension reform, with thousands of people who have supported the clamor of the unions against a project that they consider unfair and that is already in the process of parliamentary procedure.

The Ministry of the Interior has mobilized some 11,000 police and gendarmes to watch over a day of strike which, once again, has been felt in public transport, in education or in facilities linked to the energy sector. The authorities expected around one million people to take to the streets.

The government plans to gradually raise the retirement age to 64 years – two years higher than the current 62 – and to increase the contribution period required to qualify for the maximum pension. The text also eliminates specific privileges for certain groups.

The secretary general of the General Confederation of Labor, Philippe Martinez, has warned at the beginning of the march in Paris that, if Macron «persists» in this reform, «more doubts, more numerous, more massive strikes» are expected, reports Franceinfo. Martinez has exposed as endorsement of this unease the «high level» of citizen participation, which he considers similar or even higher than that of the strikes of January 19 and 31.

The Government does not have a guaranteed majority to push through a reform which has been criticized from both sides of the political spectrum. The former presidential candidate of La France Insoumise (LFI), Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has called on Macron from Lyon to be «reasonable» and not «authoritarian».