Over 12,000 police officers have been mobilised across France to face the large-scale demonstrations against the government's pension reform being held today, Le Monde reports.

During the afternoon, the protests degenerated in several parts of the country. According to Le Monde, protesters throw street stones and bottles at riot police. Several fires reportedly broke out in the city and shop and restaurant windows were reportedly smashed in several places.

Police station on fire

In the city of Lorient, protesters reportedly attacked several government buildings. According to France 24, protesters allegedly set fire to the entrance to a police station.

"Uncooperative attacks and vandalism against the sub-prefecture and police station in Lorient. Thoughts go out to the injured officials. These actions will not go unpunished," Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin wrote on Twitter.

Over 800,000 protesters in Paris

According to union figures, around 800,000 people are on the streets of Paris to demonstrate today. If so, that's the highest turnout since the protests began in January.

Trade union CFDT leader Laurent Berger has urged protesters not to use force.

Controversial reform

The protests are about the French government's pension reform that will raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. President Macron's government chose to bypass parliament and push the proposal through despite lacking support. The opposition responded with a motion of no confidence in the government, which did not pass.

"Some people don't want to face reality. It's not a luxury, it's not a pleasure, but reform is a necessity for our country," Macron told reporters on Wednesday.

That statement was like throwing "gasoline on a fire," according to Philippe Martinez, president of the CGT union.