France bans protests outside parliament — RT World News

The Macron government’s controversial unilateral decision to raise the retirement age has sparked massive protests

French police have banned all gatherings at two protest hotspots opposite parliament in Paris, citing “Serious risks of disturbing public order” in a statement released on Saturday.

THE “public road place de la Concorde and its surroundings” and the area around the Champs d’Elysées was declared off-limits after two nights of intense public protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s deeply unpopular decision to introduce neoliberal pension reforms without parliamentary approval.

Police said 61 protesters were arrested in restricted areas on Friday after throwing bottles and fireworks at the heavily armored officers, who had arrived to disperse crowds of several thousand. The police responded with volleys of tear gas. Thirty-six other people were arrested in Lyon after protesters allegedly tried to break in and burn down a town hall.

The reform raises the retirement age by two years, from 62 to 64, by 2030 and obliges workers to contribute to the system for 43 years before being able to receive a full pension. Macron argued the measure was necessary to prevent the country from sliding into an irreversible debt spiral. However, two-thirds of French voters oppose the move and opposition politicians say there are other ways to close the tax gap, such as raising taxes on the wealthy.

While the deeply unpopular measure passed the Senate earlier this week, Macron then forced it through the National Assembly without a vote using Article 49.3 of the French Constitution, which states that a law can be passed as long as that the government is not censured by a majority. deputies. There was “too many uncertainties” to leave it to the vote, he said.

The unions reacted by calling for a weekend of protest and a one-day strike next Thursday, denouncing Macron’s actions as “a total denial of democracy”.

Left and right opposition MPs tabled no-confidence motions on Friday, which are expected to be debated on Monday, sources told AFP. However, that would require the backing of half of the opposition Republicans to overthrow the government, which French media reports is unlikely.

Months of strikes and protests preceded the passage of the reform, echoing the yellow vest movement of pre-Covid France, a revolt also centered on Macron’s controversial neoliberal austerity proposals.

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