Tense protests broke out Friday across France to voice opposition to President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to force through his pension reform bill without a vote in the country’s Parliament.
Macron’s plan is to raise the country’s retirement age from 62 to 64. Macron has claimed that there is an imbalance between the working-age population and those able to collect a pension, and so the only way to “save” the system is to have the public work longer. France has the lowest age for a state pension among major European countries.
The move is unpopular among the French, and since his Parliament is divided, he asked Elisabeth Borne, his prime minister, to invoke article 49.3 of the Constitution, which means a bill does not have to be approved by lawmakers in the lower house to pass. About two-thirds of those in the country oppose the plans.
The protests have gotten violent and police arrested more than 300 on Thursday. Security forces used water cannons and tear gas on protesters, who vow to continue the fight. Roads leading into Paris have been blocked and garbage continues to pile up in some of Paris’s swankiest neighborhoods due to a sanitation strike. Workers at refineries across the country also went on strike on Saturday.
“We have beheaded Louis XVI and we can do it again!” some protesters chanted.
Some demonstrators set fire to garbage in Paris that has been piling high in the streets due to a trash-collector strike. Police used tear gas and water cannons, the report said. Other violent protests broke out in Brest, Nantes, and Bordeaux.
Protesters have called for Marcon to resign and his cabinet faced a no-confidence vote on Monday and narrowly survived, which means his pension-reform plan will pass and his cabinet will remain intact. More protests are expected.
Ariane Laget, who joined a protest in the small southern town of Lodeve, told the AFP, “We’re fed up. We feel like we’re being trampled on and no one is listening.”
Macron did not believe he had the votes to get the bill passed, so he told reporters that he did what was needed.
“My interest would have been to go to a vote,” he said, according to The New York Times, “but I consider that at the present time the financial and economic risks are too great.”
He said, “One cannot play with the future of the country.”
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported extensively on Macron’s pension reforms and the subsequent protests and strikes. (See “FRANCE ABSORBS ANOTHER PUNISHING WEEK OF PROTESTS OVER MACRON’S PUSH TO RAISE RETIREMENT AGE” 14 Mar 2023, “NEW WORLD DISORDER: FRANCE FACES NEW STRIKES, PROTESTS ESCALATE” 21 Feb 2023, and “FRANCE CONTINUES TO FACE LARGE-SCALE PROTESTS OVER COST OF LIVING” 25 Oct 2022.)
France has the lowest age for a state pension among major European countries. Macron claimed that there is an imbalance between the working-age population and those able to collect a pension, and so the only way to “save” the system is to have the public work longer.
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported extensively on Unionization being a Top Trend (see UNIONIZATION TREND ON TRACK and the NEW WORLD DISORDER) that includes angry mobs of people tired of the status quo. It is worth noting that large numbers of students and young people are included as the drivers in these French protests. We had forecast that the young, who still have the energy to fight, will be major players in these movements as they sink into economic despair.
And, as Gerald Celente continues to note, for protests to be relevant, they must continue peacefully non-stop. You don’t have a big rally one day, go home and call it a day.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: After surviving two no-confidence votes on Monday, the French government adopted the deeply unpopular pension reform law that raises the retirement age from 62 to 64.
While opposition politicians vowed to keep fighting against the new law, protesters again took the street across France Monday night.
We forecast that the protests will continue and unrest will escalate as the economy slows down and living standards decline.