France: Barricades, garbage bins set on fire in Paris as pension reform protests turn violent; visuals surface

France: Barricades, garbage bins set on fire in Paris as pension reform protests turn violent; visuals surface

By ignoring parliament and invoking a special constitutional power, French President Emmanuel Macron imposed a highly unpopular bill raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 on Thursday.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, March 17, 2023, 01:11 PM IST
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France: Barricades, garbage bins set on fire in Paris as pension reform protests turn violent | AP

Protesters enraged by the French government's surprise move to impose pension reform clashed with riot police in Paris on Thursday evening, as garbage bins and trash barricades were set on fire in the streets.

Earlier in the day on Thursday, thousands of people gathered in front of the parliament in central Paris' historic Place de la Concorde, which was guarded by riot police.

Tear gas used to clear protesters away

They had gathered to protest President Emmanuel Macron's controversial decision to push through their unpopular pension reform bill without putting it to a vote in the National Assembly.

After a fire was lit in the centre of the square, close to an Egyptian obelisk that has stood there for nearly 200 years, police used tear gas and water canons to clear protesters away around 8 pm.

Following attempts to clear Place de la Concorde, protesters moved through central Paris, where some set fire to garbage piles that had accumulated in recent days as garbage collectors in Paris joined the strikes against the French government's pension reform.

Hundreds of riot police moved through the heart of Paris, firing tear gas to disperse protesters, some of whom retaliated by throwing objects at police. Storefronts were also harmed.

Pension reform bill

By ignoring parliament and invoking a special constitutional power, French President Emmanuel Macron imposed a highly unpopular bill raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 on Thursday.

Lawmakers yelled, their voices shaking with emotion, as Macron made the risky move, which is expected to spark a wave of no-confidence motions against his government.

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