France is angry. This Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of citizens have once again taken to the streets of the country to protest against the pension reform approved by the Government of Emmanuel Macron. On what is the tenth day of the general strike, the mobilizations are expected to be massive and there will be occasional clashes between protesters and police.
In fact, at 3:00 p.m., the authorities reported the arrest of 18 people in Paris, where there have been numerous altercations in recent days. In other cities, like Toulouse, Nantes or Rennesthe French have blocked train tracks and highways and have set fire to the garbage bags that have been piled up in the streets for days due to the stoppage of the activity of the garbage collectors.
For its part, the Ministry of the Interior has mobilized 13,000 police and gendarmes, an unprecedented number, shield france. Faced with such tension, the unions have offered a mediation that would suspend delaying retirement at 64 years of age and that has been rejected outright by the Executive.
Of those 13,000 policemen, 5,500 have been destined exclusively for Paris, although there will also be important contingents in cities such as Bordeaux, Lyon, Nantes, Dijon and Rennes, where serious riots like those of last week are expected and that caused Carlos III to suspend his state visit to France.
The Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, has warned that various groups of violent protesters will join protests in Paris and other cities with the aim of “burn France down with blood and fire” and that, for this reason, 90 units of mobile forces have been deployed. “This is a level of mobilization never before reached“, said Darmanin, who has asked the police officers to make use of the “indispensable proportionality of force”.
[La crisis de Francia en seis mitos y un número: de la popularidad de Macron al artículo 49.3]
🔴 The paths block the rails from the Gare de Lyon to #Paris against the #ReformDesRetraites.
Action pour soutenir Seb, cheminot mutilé dans la manifestation de la semaine dernière. #greve28mars pic.twitter.com/VhpxOPfhbF
—Clement Lanot (@ClementLanot) March 28, 2023
From early in the morning there are already several problematic points throughout the country with ports, trains and road access blocked, universities with pickets and gas stations with hardly any fuel. Also dozens of flights have been canceled at the airports of Paris-Orly, Marseille-Provence and Toulouse and this situation is expected to continue in the coming days. they are already thousands of people who are demonstrating in the streets of France, although it is expected that up to 800,000 people will join the already organized concentrations this afternoon.
Demonstrations last week sparked serious riots and violence in cities including Paris, Bordeaux, Rennes and Nantes. In fact, in Bordeaux a group of protesters burned part of the façade of the Town Hall and in the capital dozens of cars and items of street furniture were set on fire.
Aujourd’hui encore, à Marseille, une foule immense défile contre Macron et son pillage autoritaire.
On is the ✊🔥#greve28mars #Manif28Mars #MacronDemission pic.twitter.com/mZfYMeTKk0
—Marcel (@realmarcel1) March 28, 2023
Unions offer mediation
Faced with this, and in order to avoid disturbances, the leader of the The French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT), the country’s main trade union, has proposed seek mediation in the social crisis caused by this reform during which delaying retirement at age 64 would be suspended.
[Las protestas contra las pensiones bloquean el Charles de Gaulle y se cancelan cientos de vuelos]
“The measure of 64 years must be suspended” and for a period that could be a month or a month and a half to seek “mediation” so that the Government and the unions can sit around a table to negotiate about work, Laurent Berger pointed out this Tuesday in an interview with France Inter radio station.
“You have to find a way out” to the current situation, stressed Berger, who insisted that the unions are not going to sit down with the Executive of Emmanuel Macron, as the president has proposed, if they are banned from talking about the pension reform.
“We do not want winners and losers in this social crisis, but to go out on top” and lower the tension”, he affirmed, showing himself totally against violence. In fact, Berger has condemned the use of violence “unambiguously” and stressed that violence “hides this formidable mobilization that in most cases is peaceful.”
[La policía de París prohíbe reuniones en puntos clave tras los disturbios por la reforma de las pensiones]
A Clermont-Ferrand, place de Jaude, tout le cortège n’est pas encore arrivé. Des congressists CGT de toute la France sont la #greve28mars pic.twitter.com/tq1hsdYWPJ
— Agathe Ranc (@agranc) March 28, 2023
The position of Macron and his government to try to get out of the quagmire is to show willingness to negotiate with the unions on issues related to work and even purchasing power, but in no case on the pension reform, which follows its procedure once adopted by decree, with its examination by the Constitutional Council in the next three weeks.
Beyond the pressure on the street, Macron’s popularity continues to decline. In fact, according to a survey by the Odoxa institute for the Public Sénat chain, it shows that only 30% of the French consider Macron a good presidentsix points less than in February.