• Many spontaneous demonstrations took place in France on Thursday evening after the government announced the use of 49.3.
  • A scenario that did not surprise the territorial intelligence, which had published a note Monday on the subject.
  • Particular attention is requested in particular with regard to elected representatives in favour of the reform.

The reaction of the street was not long in coming. A few hours after the government announced the use of Article 49.3 to pass the pension reform, many spontaneous demonstrations formed throughout France. From the Parisian Place de la Concorde to the city center of Dijon, via Marseille or Rennes, several thousand people took to the streets to denounce this passage in force. And unlike previous mobilizations, many incidents have been noted. According to the Minister of the Interior, 310 people were arrested Thursday, including 258 in Paris.

However, the emerging scenario did not surprise the specialized services. A note from territorial intelligence published Monday, and that 20 Minutes was able to consult, already estimated that the possible use of 49.3 was likely to "contribute to reviving the protest and potentially its radicalization". As of Friday morning, road blockades were noted across the country, especially on the Paris ring road. In Toulon and Bordeaux, train traffic was interrupted and everywhere in France, universities, schools, public buildings were blocked. "The opposition is legitimate, the demonstrations are legitimate, the brothel or the border, no," hammered the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, in the morning on RTL.

"Visible actions"

"We already felt the processions tense since the demonstration of March 7 with an increased presence of black-blocs and ultrayellow [radical fringe of the "yellow vests"], says a police source. But with this choice of 49.3, trade union activists could also tend towards a certain radicalization. It remains to be seen what form this will take. Also this Friday, in a first communiqué deleted a few hours later, the CGT called to engage "everywhere and especially Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, visible actions" in order to be in a position of strength before the great mobilization scheduled for Thursday. The blockade of the Paris ring road or trains in Bordeaux, orchestrated by the union, set the tone. From now on, the CGT calls for "proximity rallies throughout the weekend".

In its note, the territorial intelligence also specifies that "yellow vests", present everywhere on the territory, could also be tempted to organize new actions: damage to radars, road blockades, free tolls ... "Even if we see the presence of 'yellow vests', the movement is very different from that of 2018 which emanated directly from the base, continues a police source. Here, since the beginning of the protest, the unions have had a predominant role, there is a form of organization. However, it is difficult to know how the aggregation of the different protest currents will be expressed.

Actions against elected officials

In their note, the territorial intelligence also warned against the multiplication of actions "against the interests of elected officials in favor of the reform project", including violent arrests during their travels or in their permanence.

In a sign that these elements are taken very seriously, the Minister of the Interior sent a note to the prefects on Thursday evening asking them to pay particular attention to the safety of parliamentarians, including increased surveillance of their offices and homes. "I ask you to firmly maintain the device implemented," insists the tenant of the Place Beauvau.

  • Pension reform 2023
  • Yellow Vests
  • Demonstration
  • Black Blocs
  • Mobilization
  • Society