French protesters push last-ditch effort to stop pension law

World Wednesday 07/June/2023 15:24 PM
By: DW
French protesters push last-ditch effort to stop pension law

Paris: Unions mobilised opponents of France's controversial pension reforms law yet again on Tuesday, in the 14th protest action this year against the law which raises the retirement age by two years.

Unions are hoping a significant participation would pressure parliament ahead of a scheduled Thursday vote which aims to scrap the law. The vote, spearheaded by the small, left-backed Liot faction, is not expected to come through.

What happened with the protests?
Members of the hard-left CGT trade union raided and briefly occupied the Paris Summer 2024 Olympics headquarters, the Reuters news agency said.

Videos circulating on social media also showed purported protesters flocking into the headquarters in Aubervilliers, northern Paris.

Some protesters threatened to disrupt next year's Olympics.

A Games spokesperson told Reuters that several dozen CGT protesters entered the building briefly. He denied that any violence or damage took place.

"It's going to be another big day in the history of the trade union movement," the new head of the hard-left CGT union, Sophie Binet, told BFM television on Tuesday morning. "After six months the unions are still united and the level of anger, frustration and motivation is high."

Some 280,000 participants took part in Tuesday's demonstrations and strikes nationwide, the French Interior Ministry said. At the height of the pension protests earlier this year, over one million protesters took to the streets to air their grievances.

French authorities deployed some 11,000 police forces, including 4,000 in the capital.

"This will be the last protest of this kind over the pension matter," Reuters quoted Lauren Berger, head of the CFDT trade union, as saying ahead of the protest in Paris.
Latest attempt to scrap the law

Thursday's scheduled vote is the latest of several attempts to scrap the law, which has triggered nationwide protests for all of this year.

Emmanuel Macron's government passed the law in parliament without a vote, and the president later ratified it.

The lower house's speaker, a member of Macron's party, is expected to shoot down Thursday's vote.

Lawmakers constitutionally cannot pass legislation that burdens public finances without simultaneous measures to handle such costs.

The pension reforms are the brainchild of Macron. He initially attempted to bring them about during his first term in office, but his plans were derailed.

Macron has said the change is being done out of necessity in order to keep the country's finances in check.