• Economy Macron approves by decree his controversial pension reform and opens a crisis in France
  • Crisis France experiences another night of riots against pension reform, with 60 arrested in Paris

France lives this Saturday the third day of protests and spontaneous mobilizations against the pension reform of Emmanuel Macron, which is opposed by the majority of French people and which was approved by decree on Thursday. After the two days of violence and riots, the French police banned gatherings in the Place de la Concorde in Paris, in its surroundings and on the Champs Elysees, in the face of "the serious risks of disturbance of order and public safety."

Despite the ban, the demonstrators changed the meeting point and concentrated in the Plaza de Italia, where thousands of people gathered and scenes of tension were repeated, with barricades, burning of containers, police charges and clashes with the agents, who had to disperse the demonstrators.

The police had previously shielded the Place de la Concorde to prevent its access, as there were demonstrators trying to access. This square, which is next to the Assembly, has become the symbol of the protests. Since Thursday, the riots have been repeated. On Friday there were 4,000 protesters and police had to evacuate the square, with 60 arrested. The previous day there were 300 others throughout the country. In addition to the protest in the capital, other spontaneous protests were also held in other French cities, such as Marseille, Bordeaux, Toulon or Montpellier.

Box of thunder

The approval on Thursday of the pension reform by decree, without a vote of the Assembly, has opened the box of thunder, after two months of protests and peaceful demonstrations. Emmanuel Macron, who already lived through the revolt of the yellow vests in his first term, is facing a new protest movement. The fuse has been lit in the street and there is a risk that it will increase.

Citizen pressure against the controversial reform is joined by that of the seats. On Monday, the two motions of censure presented by two groups will be voted: that of the far-right Marine Le Pen and the independent group Liot, the smallest in the Assembly. His motion is the one that has the best chance of prospering, although to achieve it they need the support of at least thirty deputies of the conservative party of The Republicans, which in principle, will not support it.

If any of these proposals go ahead, the pension reform would fall, but also the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, and her Government. Macron could also dissolve the Assembly and call elections. The unions have called a new day of general strike on Thursday, which could be one of the most followed. It is the ninth since the mobilization against the pension reform began last January.

Macron resorted to article 49.3 of the Constitution, which allows a law to be approved without voting on it, given the doubts of achieving sufficient support in a vote in the Hemicycle. This unpopular reform aims to raise the retirement age from the current 62 to 64. The government argues that it is necessary to balance the system, already in deficit. The French criticize that it is an unfair law that harms the most precarious workers.

In addition to the tensions in the street, strikes continue in some sectors, such as refineries. The General Directorate of Civil Aviation has asked to cancel between 20-30% of the flights scheduled for Monday due to the strike of air traffic controllers. The picture of the chaotic situation that the country is experiencing are the 10,000 tons of garbage scattered throughout Paris by the strike that the garbage dumps have maintained for almost two weeks.

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  • Emmanuel Macron
  • Paris
  • Marine Le Pen
  • Yellow vests