Hundreds of thousands protest in France against pension age rise – SUCH TV

French protesters have launched a new push to pressure President Emmanuel Macron into dropping a pension reform plan, with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets and strikes disrupting transport and schools.

According to international media reports, from tiny islands to major cities, demonstrators poured by the thousands into France’s streets on Tuesday.

Labour unions aimed to mobilise more than 1 million protesters in what veteran left-wing leader Jean-Luc Melenchon described as a “citizens’ insurrection.”

Labour unions and left-wing legislators fighting in parliament against Macron’s plans were counting on protesters to turn out massively to strengthen their efforts to kill the bill that would raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Meanwhile, the government says it is determined to push through Macron’s election pledge to reform France’s pension system.

The first marches kicked off in the morning across the country, with several prominent opposition politicians taking part.

As large crowds marched in cities and towns, Melenchon celebrated “a historic day” of protests and predicted defeat for Macron. In Paris, flag-waving, horn-blowing demonstrators gathered in large numbers for an afternoon march through the capital.

“It’s not often that we see such a mass mobilisation,” Melenchon said, speaking in the southern city of Marseille.

Millions had to find alternative means of transport Tuesday, work from home or take time off to look after their school-age children, with workers in transport and education sectors among those staging walkouts.

Rail operator SNCF reported major disruptions, with strikes knocking out most trains in the Paris region, in all other regions and on France’s flagship high-speed network linking cities and major towns.

The Paris Metro was also hit hard by station closures and cancellations.

Strikes also hit schools, with the Education Ministry reporting that around one-quarter of teachers stayed off the job — fewer than in the January 19 first round of protests.

French media also reported walkouts in oil refineries. The French government mobilised 11,000 officers to police the protests.


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