Protestors clash with police in France over pension reform

  • 03:28 06 December 2019

Protestors clash with police in France over pension reform

A clash between French police and demonstrators, who protested against President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension plans, took place nationwide on Thursday, ONA reports citing Anadolu Agency.

Nearly 200,000 people took part in the protests where clashes between with police, who used smoke bombs to disperse protestors, occurred. 

Police intervened in the demonstrations, with protestors setting fire to a cafe, traffic lights and electric motorcycles in Paris.

According to the workers' unions, the strike will continue until Monday, with local media reporting that a total of 70 people have been arrested so far.

Some 20% of flights have already been cancelled.

In a Twitter post, the Paris Police Department said that the police and gendarmerie conducted 6,476 checks and arrested 65 people.

The Gare du Nord, one of the stations of the SNCF railway network in Paris, was almost empty in the morning, according to France 24 broadcaster.

Protesters, however, started to come at the Gare du Nord in the afternoon to attend the main march to Place de la Nation square.

The protesters include police, healthcare professionals, teachers, lawyers, taxi and freight drivers, postal workers, farmers, civil servants, refinery workers and students, according to daily Le Monde.

Among the protesting people are employees of national carrier Air France, state-owned Parisian public transport operator RATP, electricity company EDF that is largely owned by the government, state-owned national railway firm SNCF, and automobile manufacturer Renault.

The "unlimited" strike impacted all public transport systems in the country, according to local media reports.

Some trains have been cancelled, while others have been operating at drastically reduced shifts.

Commuters preferred bikes or electronic scooters to go to work or stayed at home.

The strike could last for days and the outcome of it is still uncertain but it aims to halt the reform.

The walkout came after the government announced its determination to implement pension reform despite nationwide outcry.

According to France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, Macron has further fueled the "sense of anger and rebellion" among French people against their president, with his economic policies that have given wealthy people a greater share of national income since his inauguration on May 17, 2017.

Macron has been facing the biggest crisis since the beginning of yellow vest protests in October last year. 

Faig Mahmudov