Listen to this article France Pension Protests: Bordeaux Town Hall Goes Up In Flames
Protests in France over pension reforms turned violent on Thursday, with the town hall in Bordeaux being set on fire. The demonstrations across the country drew more than a million people, with 119,000 people in Paris alone, according to the interior ministry.
France Pension Protests Spark Widespread Protests Across the Country
On Thursday, France saw mass protests in response to the government’s proposed reforms to the pension system. The proposed changes would raise the retirement age by two years, to 64. Over a million people joined the protests, with more than 100,000 of them taking to the streets of Paris.
France Pension Protests Lead to Clashes with Police and Acts of Violence
Although the majority of the protests were peaceful, there were some incidents of violence and clashes with the police. In Paris, some protesters smashed windows, destroyed street furniture, and attacked a McDonald’s restaurant. Police used tear gas and were pelted with fireworks and other objects. 33 people were arrested in Paris.
France Pension Protests: Bordeaux Town Hall Set on Fire During Day of Demonstrations
In Bordeaux, the town hall was set on fire during a day of protests and clashes. The fire appeared to have started at the front door of the building, and it was quickly extinguished by firefighters. It is unclear who started the fire.
Other Incidents Across France
There were other incidents across the country, including in Rouen, where a young woman lost her thumb after being hit by a “flash-ball” grenade fired by police. In Nantes, Rennes, and Lorient, there were reports of clashes between police and protesters.
Disruptions Across the Country
The protests significantly disrupted France, resulting in the cancellation or delay of many train services. Additionally, the protests affected some oil refineries. Workers at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris walked out of work, causing further disruption.
Unions Call for More Protests
The protests continued for a ninth day, and French unions have called for a tenth day of strikes and protests next Tuesday. This would coincide with the last full day of King Charles III’s state visit to the country.
Government’s Defense of the Reforms
The government’s decision to force the pension reforms through the lower house of parliament without a vote has caused significant controversy. French President Emmanuel Macron has defended the move, saying that the reforms are necessary. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has also stated that the changes are essential to prevent a major deficit in the pension system in the future.
The protests across France highlight the significant opposition to the government’s proposed pension reforms. The violent incidents that occurred during the protests demonstrate the level of frustration and anger that many people feel. The unions’ call for more protests indicates that the situation is far from resolved, and further disruption can be expected in the coming days.