Protests against the pension reform in France on Saturday led to clashes between police and demonstrators for the third night in a row. In the capital Paris, garbage cans were set on fire, the police used tear gas. Protests also broke out in other cities across the country, including Nantes, Marseille and Bordeaux.
People reject the increase in the retirement age from 62 to 64, which President Emmanuel Macron pushed through on Thursday, bypassing a parliamentary vote. A broad alliance of the main French trade unions has announced further actions to reverse the increase. In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of people had taken to the streets against the plans. On Friday, 61 people were temporarily detained in the course of the protests.
As a result of the protests, the mountains of garbage are piling up in the capital. In addition, oil refineries were on strike and railway employees continued their walkouts. Macron has justified the raising of the retirement age from 62 to 64 years by saying that otherwise the pension system is on the verge of collapse. Fearing defeat in parliament, his government had pushed through the project bypassing a vote, citing an article of the constitution that allows it. Raising the retirement age is considered one of the President's most important projects.
Observers had said the circumvention of the vote was evidence that Macron's ability to organize majorities for reform projects had suffered. This is now likely to have an impact on future projects, it said.