The demonstrations in France multiplied this weekend in the country due to citizen discontent against the pension reform imposed by decree by the president Emmanuel Macron.
The country has lived for weeks a climate of growing political and social tension, which is now spreading with the blockades of refineries and other key sectors for the French economy. Sector strikes slow down activity of the second economy of the European Union (EU) and tons of garbage pile up in its main cities.
Macron’s decision to approve his reform (which raises the retirement age from 62 to 64) through a constitutional provision – article 49.3 – that allows him to bypass the legislative vote gave rise to popular indignation, which diminished, and radicalized groups of young people.
“What is left for us but to continue demonstrating? The demonstrations were peaceful, until the application of 49.3. Now there is potential for an increase in social tension”, thought Romain Morizot, a 33-year-old telecommunications engineer, at the march in Marseille, France’s second city.
The government affirms that the reform is necessary to avoid deepening the deficit in the coming decades in which France faces an aging population. But critics say the reform places an unfair burden on workers with low wageswomen and people with jobs that involve physical exhaustion.
And in the midst of this panorama, the authorities prohibited the concentrations in the Place de la Concorde in Paris, in front of the National Assembly (chamber of deputies), after nights of demonstrations that led to incidents with hundreds of arrests.
However, now the Executive faces two key motions of censure in Parliament on Monday. The approval of any of the motions of no confidence would annul the presidential decree and force the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, to present her resignation.
His luck came from the 61 parliamentarians from Los Republicanos (centre-right), who could tilt the result, taking into account that Macron’s party and its allies have a relative majority.
As the accounts are until the closing of this edition, at least 287 parliamentarians will be necessary to overthrow the Executive -half plus one-, out of a total of 573 seats (there are four vacant seats).
While Macron’s popularity hits lows since the end of his assumption of the presidency in 2017 -currently only 28 percent approve, at levels of the «yellow vest» crisis of 2018/2019-, social protests begin to be more unpredictable and volatile.
Since the final adoption of the reform, on the 16th, they have intensified and have often gone to the margins of left-wing parties and unions. Many have been summoned on social networks. This spontaneous and leaderless character recalls the method of the “yellow vest” revolt.
*With AFp and Efe