The dispute over France's pension reform threatens to escalate further. During protests, some of which were violent, 457 people were arrested across the country, as French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said on CNews on Friday morning. Around 440 police officers and gendarmes were injured the day before and during the night. Images of a police officer who collapsed after a stone hit his helmet caused horror.
Unions had again called for a major day of strikes and demonstrations on Thursday. The mood in some cities was already tense during the day. According to Darmanin, several public buildings were attacked. On the sidelines of a demonstration in Bordeaux, southern France, there was a fire in the entrance area of the town hall on Thursday evening. The portal of a colonnade leading to the forecourt of the city hall was damaged, said a spokeswoman for the local prefecture. A man was arrested. Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne called the violence and damage unacceptable.
Demonstrations to high visitors
The protests are directed against the gradual increase in the retirement age from 62 to 64, which has since been passed, and the actions of the center government under President Emmanuel Macron. According to the authorities, almost 1.09 million people demonstrated across the country on Thursday. The union CGT spoke of 3.5 million participants. The unions have called for new nationwide strikes and protests for Tuesday. The British King Charles III. should then be on a visit to France.
There have been demonstrations against the pension reform since the beginning of the year. The days of strikes and protests had been mostly peaceful for weeks. But since the government pushed the controversial reform through the National Assembly last week without a vote, violence has increased - especially during spontaneous protests. For their part, demonstrators had accused the police of violence.
Dispute weakens Macron's government
Pension reform is considered one of President Macron's key projects. With it, an impending hole in the pension fund is to be averted. The unions consider the project unfair and brutal. The text has been approved, but is pending examination by the Constitutional Council. It is not yet clear when the instance will decide on the reform. Macron wants it to come into force by the end of the year. The dispute over the reform has significantly weakened the government.
Currently, the retirement age in France is 62 years. In fact, retirement begins later on average: those who have not paid in long enough to receive a full pension work longer. At the age of 67 there is then a pension without any deductions, regardless of how long it has been paid in - the government intends to keep this, even if the number of years required to pay in for a full pension is to increase more quickly. She wants to increase the monthly minimum pension to around 1,200 euros.