Over 750,000 French Taking Part In 3rd Nationwide Protest Against Pension Reform - Reports

PARIS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 08th February, 2023) Over 750,000 people took part in the third nationwide protest against the controversial pension reform in France on Tuesday, French media reported, citing the country's interior ministry.

According to the ministry's data, a total of 757,000 people participated in protests across France, with 57,000 in Paris alone, the BFMTV broadcaster reported.

France's largest union, the General Confederation of Labour (CGT), estimated the number of protesters at almost 2 million people countrywide, with 400,000 in the French capital.

Demonstrators were carrying banners of leading French unions, chanting "Pension at 60," "Macron, take your hands off our pensions," "No reform without universal approval," "Raise wages, not the retirement age," BFMTV said.

The protest action was accompanied by industrial strikes in several sectors, including transport, energy and education.

French unions have already announced that they were going to hold their next national demonstration on February 11.

A RIA Novosti correspondent reported earlier in the day that black bloc radicals joined the protest in Paris and started breaking windows of cafes and shops, setting garbage cans on fire and smashing billboards. They were also throwing firecrackers and glass bottles at police officers. In response, the police used tear gas to disperse the crowd. According to French media, 17 people were detained in Paris on Tuesday.

On January 10, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne unveiled a draft of the controversial pension reform that the government plans to adopt in 2023. According to the draft, the French authorities will gradually raise the retirement age in the country by three months a year from September 1, 2023. By 2030, the retirement age will reach 64 years.

Two nationwide strikes have since taken place in France as people protest the reform. The first nationwide strike against pension reform took place across France on January 19, during which eight of the country's largest trade unions held more than 200 demonstrations. An estimated 1 million people took part in the protests, the French Interior Ministry said. On January 31, over 87,000 people reportedly took part in the second demonstration against pension reform held in Paris.

On Monday, a majority of lawmakers in the French parliament rejected the proposal of the left coalition New Ecological and Social People's Union (Nupes) to hold a referendum on the pension reform.