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Violent protests against raising the pension age in France, crowd-police clashes

  • International
  • 18 March, 2023 11:58:39

Photo: Collected

International Desk: In France, a strong movement has started against the government's initiative to reform the retirement age from government, semi-government and private jobs. Police arrested dozens of protesters on Place de la Concorde in the capital Paris on Friday. Place de la Concorde is close to the French Parliament building. In addition to the capital, protests are reported in the country's cities of Bordeaux, Toulon and Strasbourg. France has been discussing the reform of the retirement age for the past two months. Public opinion has already been formed for and against this proposal. Government supporters claim that increasing the age limit of pension will not put any pressure on the overall employment of the country and will prevent the deadlock that has started in various fields including administration.

However, the opposition parties in the parliament, some trade unions and a section of the public could not agree with this proposal of the government. In the last two months, there have been fierce debates in the parliament, and there have been several strikes in the country. However, the protests started last Thursday after the implementation of the decision to increase the age limit of pension. On that day, the government led by President Emmanuel Macron announced an increase in the retirement age from 62 to 64. However, before taking this decision, the matter of raising the bill in Parliament and voting on it by the legislators, which is essential in a democratic system, did not happen.

Basically this is the reason for the protest. After Wednesday's announcement, members of parliament from Nupes, a coalition of France's left-wing political parties, and independent lawmakers launched a no-confidence motion against the government's move. The main opposition National Rally Party also followed the same path on Thursday. This group is known as a radical right-wing party in France. Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally Party, told reporters at the Parliament building on Thursday, "It is not at all compatible with the tradition of French democracy to suddenly implement a decision without bringing a bill to Parliament for a vote." It proves that this government is completely failed and desperate to hold on to power.' He also demanded the resignation of the French president and prime minister.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in various cities, including the capital, shortly after the government's announcement. During this time, they vandalized and set fire to the sides of the road, and clashed with the police. A protester told AFP, 'We will not give up at all. There is still time, the government must reverse this decision. Another protester said, "This move by the government is a clear violation of democracy ... a complete disregard for the discussions that have been going on in France for the last few weeks." But Laurent Berger, the top leader of France's moderate trade union CFDT, told the BBC Said, they basically want to withdraw the government decision. They have no plans to turn this movement into an anti-government movement. 'Forcing the president or the prime minister to resign is not a solution. We want the decision to reform the pension age to be withdrawn.'


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