PARIS, France: Protesters across France held a fourth round of nationwide demonstrations this weekend against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to reform the country’s pension system.
According to the Interior Ministry, more than 960,000 people marched in Paris, Nice, Marseille, Toulouse, Nantes and other cities to pressure the government to back down on its proposed change, with further protests scheduled for 16th February.
In Paris, authorities counted some 93,000 participants, the highest number protesting against the pension changes since the demonstrations began last month.
French lawmakers have began a passionate debate on the pension bill, the the flagship legislation of Macron’s second term, which aims to raise the minimum retirement age for a full state pension from 62 to 64 years.
The weekend protests witnessed some instances of unrest. Paris police said its officers arrested eight people for offenses, ranging from vandalism to possession of firearms.
Some demonstrators protested as families through the French capital’s Place de la Republique and carried banners that read emotional statements, such as, “I do not want my parents to die at work.”
The reforms were “indispensable” to ensuring the long-term survival of the French pension system, Marcon stressed, noting that workers in neighboring countries retire much later.
Meanwhile, French unions issued a joint statement calling the government “deaf” and pressing government officials to scrap the bill, adding that if their demands were not met, they will organize a country-wide “shutdown” beginning 7th March.
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