Demonstration against pension reform in the French city of Bayonne, March 11, 2023.
Paris – Today, France is experiencing the seventh round of strikes against the pension reform promoted by President Emmanuel Macron. As of today, 230 protest marches and events are announced, the police expect 800,000 to one million participants, the AFP agency reported. Around 2:00 p.m., a crowd began to move in Paris, which is likely to be the largest in the country again. Due to the strike, only half of the TGV high-speed trains and about 40 percent of the regional railway connections ran today, writes BFM TV. The operation of the Paris metro in the vicinity of the demonstration is also disrupted.
Already in the morning there were protests in the south of France, about 11,500 people gathered in Toulouse, significantly less than a week ago. Over 2,000 people demonstrated in Nice, slightly fewer French people also gathered in Strasbourg and Nancy to protest against the reform, according to Le Figaro. Overall, the turnout is weaker than on Tuesday, when it was the sixth demonstration since the beginning of the year.
Together, the unions asked Macron for a meeting and negotiations on the reform, which is again being discussed by parliament these days. On Thursday, Macron sent a letter to the trade unionists saying he was listening to them, but declined the meeting. The head of the CGT union, Philippe Martinez, told BFM TV during the demonstrations today that Macron had “sent them to hell” with his response and was “joking”.
According to a poll by Elabe for BFM TV, 82 percent of French people think , that Macron should meet with union representatives. Almost two-thirds of those polled approve of social mobilization against the reform and 54 percent of people agree with strikes and the blockade of key sectors, according to a survey published today.
French authorities have asked airlines to cancel 20 percent of weekend flights due to fears of strikes and possible complications. Paris City Hall also announced on Thursday that as a result of the strikes, waste had begun to accumulate in the metropolis, leaving 3,700 tons of it on the streets. The strike of workers in the oil industry has only a minimal impact, today about five percent of gas stations are without fuel, writes Le Figaro.
Tuesday's sixth day of strikes attracted a record number of people. According to the estimates of the Ministry of the Interior, around 1.28 million people took part in the protests, according to trade unionists, even 3.5 million. The demonstrations criticize in particular the shift in the retirement age from 62 to 64.