His anger only increased after Macron, facing a divided parliament and without the support of the right-wing Republican Party, ordered Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Thursday to invoke Article 49.3 of the Constitution, allowing legislation to pass without the legislators vote.

Thousands gathered on Thursday at the Place de la Concorde, which overlooks the National Assembly building, and sporadic protests persisted into the night. Large columns of black smoke rose early Friday over the Gare du Lyon, a busy railway station on the eastern side of the city.

Protests also broke out in many towns and cities, including Rennes in the west and the port city of Marseille in the south.

Some 310 people were arrested, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

The next day of nationwide strikes, the eighth in the last three months, is scheduled for next Thursday, the unions said.

Meanwhile, the piles of rubbish littering the famous streets of Paris are a highly visible and acrid symbol of the anger felt by public sector workers at pension plans. The Paris City Council estimates that there are about 13,000 tons on the streets.

The city’s huge tourist economy continued regardless, with tours of the major sites ongoing. But the experience had some added and unwanted features.

French President Emmanuel Macron is under fire from unions for scrapping his flagship retirement age reform.Michel Euler/AP

Doris Arseguel, leading a small group of Brazilian tourists through the narrow cobbled streets of the trash-strewn fifth arrondissement, told them to watch out for the rats, who are having a field day.

“It is very difficult to show the beauty of Paris to tourists with all the trash and the barricades,” Arseguel, 53, told NBC News. “The beauty of Paris is completely covered now. It has become too much.»

The anti-reform cause has also been enthusiastically embraced by young people, who are faced with working longer under tighter financial constraints.

At the prestigious Lycée Henri-IV school in central Paris, around 100 students blocked the entrance Friday morning in protest of the policies of Macron, an illustrious alumnus.

A stone’s throw from the 18th-century Pantheon, the monument that houses the remains of French philosophers Voltaire and Rousseau, students clapped and cheered wildly, chanting: “Macron, you’re finished! Your high school is on the streets!”

“I want my voice to be heard because it is the only way we can show that we do not agree with what is happening. It’s important that young people say what they feel because without a voice you don’t count,” said 16-year-old Emma Mendzesel.

Soren Lafarge, also 16, said the students were making their voices heard despite not having the right to strike or vote in elections.

“We are here to show that we support the movement against the people’s pension reform and that we are all against that type of democracy system where you can pass a law without voting and that we advocate for a better democracy,” he said. . .

This week’s civil unrest was the capital’s worst since gillet jaunes, or yellow vests, protests in 2018 and 2019, which were largely triggered by the cost of gasoline but turned into a populist movement against Macron’s centrist and technocratic government.

Those protests ended in a partial U-turn, with Macron ruling out a carbon tax increase. But there is much less chance that he will reverse the retirement plan, which was a key manifest commitment before his re-election last summer.

Por admin