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Tear gas used during protests in France

During protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms, there have been clashes between police and demonstrators in France for the third night in a row. Garbage cans and rubbish bins were set on fire in the capital Paris, and the police used tear gas. There were also protests in other cities in the country, including Nantes, Marseille and Bordeaux.

People reject the increase in the retirement age from 62 to 64, which Macron pushed through on Thursday, bypassing a parliamentary vote. A broad alliance of the main French unions has announced further action to reverse the increase. In the past few weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets against the plans. On Friday, 61 people were temporarily arrested during the protests.

Müllberge in Paris

As a result of the protests, mountains of rubbish are also piling up in the capital. There was also a strike in refineries on Saturday. Around 37 percent of employees in TotalEnergies refineries and depots stopped work. The strikes also continued on the railways.

Macron justified raising the retirement age by saying that otherwise the pension system would collapse. Fearing a defeat in parliament, his government pushed through the plan without a vote, citing an article in the constitution that allows it. Raising the retirement age is one of the President’s most important projects.

Political boomerang for Macron

Observers had said that bypassing the vote was evidence that Macron’s ability to organize majorities for reform projects had suffered. This should now also affect future projects, it said.

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