Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, is advocating for an increase in the retirement age so that pensions may continue to be paid.
The intransigence of President of France Emmanuel Macron regarding his government’s plan to increase the retirement age to 64 has prompted the mobilization of tens of thousands, if not millions, citizens of France to go on strike in demonstrations that at times turned violent on Thursday.
During the demonstrations, popular tourist destinations such as the Palace of Versailles and the Eiffel Tower were forced to lock their doors, and travel was made difficult at the nation’s airports and provincial train stations all over the country.
France 24 reports that officials believed 1.08 million people walked to the streets, but the national union of trade, the National Confederation of Workers reported 3.5 million French residents attended rallies on Thursday.
An estimated 12,000 law enforcement officers and other security personnel were sent out onto the streets of France, including 5 thousand in Paris alone.
According to AP France-Presse, demonstrators in Paris flung rocks and aimed explosives at police on Grands Boulevards. In response, police fired tear gas and charged crowds with tasers.
The Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, stated that many police officers were injured.
In a tweet, Darmanin stated that “these atrocities must go unpunished.”
Macron, a 45-year-old liberal president serving his 2nd term, stated in January that his cabinet will raise the eligibility age for retirement from 62 years to 64 years old to ensure the sustainability of pension funds. This sparked widespread protests.
A statement made by Macron a few weeks ago that he would vote in favor of the pension overhaul using a unique constitutional prerogative without subjecting the matter to a vote in the NA stoked the flames of rage among the French population.
Macron stated on Wednesday that he wanted the reform to be finalized before the conclusion of the year and encouraged calm among protestors, making reference to violent evidence that has taken place in a number of other Western nations.
Macron stated on Wednesday that the French government respects peaceful protesters, listens to their concerns, and is working to advance the country in spite of recent events in the United States (at the Capitol) and the Netherlands, as well as brutal violence in Germany, Brazil, and even at times at the residence.