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Protests held in France amid outrage over Macron’s pension reforms

Refinery strikes and demonstrations are taking place across France amid anger over the government’s decision to raise the age at which public pensions begin.

Refinery strikes are taking place across France, and more demonstrations are taking place across the country as anger spreads over the government for raising the state pension age without a parliamentary vote.

President Emmanuel Macron has been the most disrespectful to his authority since the protests of the so-called “Gilets Jaunes” or yellow vests, combined with growing unrest, coupled with the garbage piled up in the streets of Paris after rejected workers took part in the action. A serious challenge remains. Starting in late 2018.

A company spokesperson said 37% of TotalEnergies refinery and depot operations staff went on strike on Saturday, including Feyzin in southeast France and Normandy in the north.

A rolling strike continued on the railroad.

Riot police clashed with protesters during a demonstration on Place de la Concorde near the parliament building in Paris on Friday night, and 61 people were arrested.

The governor of Paris has banned public gatherings on the Place de la Concorde and the nearby Champs-Élysées. Police said they were doing so “because there is a serious risk of disturbing public order.”

But a further rise was expected on Saturday at the Place de l’Italia south of Paris.

Elsewhere in the French capital, a group of Permanent Revolutionary Group students and activists briefly entered the Forum des Halles shopping mall, waving banners calling for a general strike and chanting “Paris, stand up! Stand up!” A media video showed.

People marched in towns and cities across the country after local trade unions called for a weekend of protests. BFM television also showed footage of ongoing demonstrations in cities such as Marseille, Compiègne and Nantes.

“There is no place for violence. We must respect parliamentary democracy,” Jean-Noël Barraud, Minister for Digital Transition and Telecommunications, told Sud Radio.

Ariane Laget, 36, was among about 200 people demonstrating in the small southern town of Lodeve.

“We are disgusted. We feel trampled and no one is listening,” she told AFP news agency.

A broad alliance of France’s major unions says it will continue to mobilize to force a U-turn on pension changes. A day of national industrial action is planned for Thursday.

Protesters in Nantes, France [Stephane Mahe/Reuters]

Eight days of nationwide protests and much local industrial activity since mid-January have been largely peaceful so far, but the past three days of unrest have erupted over high fuel prices and President Macron’s Partially turn on the U – carbon tax.

President Macron’s reforms raised the pensionable age by two years to 64. The government says this is essential to keep the system from collapsing.

The government says changes are necessary to avoid the system slipping into the red, aligning France with its European neighbors, whose legal retirement ages are higher than normal.

But critics say the change is unfair to those who start working young in physically demanding jobs, or to women who take a break from their careers to raise children.

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