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Protesters continue in France over adoption of pension reform

Demonstrations have continued across France against the adoption of the controversial pension reform.

Protesters are unlikely to quit mobilizing even after the draft bill has been adopted on Monday.

On Tuesday evening, violence erupted in Paris and other cities, where some groups vandalized street furniture, setting fire to various objects, particularly in Paris.

Police intervened with tear gas and arrested 46 people, the daily Le Figaro reported.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Tuesday evening told journalists that more than 300 police officers have been injured since the beginning of the social movement against the reform plan, broadcaster BFMTV reported.

He noted that 94 officers were wounded since March 16.

Darmanin added that 12,000 police officers, including 5,000 in Paris, will be deployed during the demonstrations planned by trade unions for Thursday.

Protests continue across France after Macron’s pension plan push

‘The crowd has no legitimacy’

Macron, who made raising the retirement age a cornerstone of his re-election campaign last year, has so far refused publicly to enter the fray and made no comment on the uproar other than in closed-door meetings.

That will change later Wednesday when the president gives a live television interview to TF1 and France 2 television channels on the lunchtime news at 1200 GMT. 

President Emmanuel Macron will look to “calm things down” with the interview amid growing anger across France, a source close to the centrist president said.

Before breaking his silence, Macron spent most of Tuesday talking to ministers, advisors and other political heavyweights about the way forward but ruled out any radical concession.

Macron also called on his troops to provide ideas in the “next two to three weeks” aimed at “a change in method and a new reform agenda”, one participant said, requesting anonymity.

But in a warning to protesters, he added: “The crowd, whatever form it takes, has no legitimacy in the face of the people who express themselves through their elected representatives” in parliament.

King Charles’ visit

A survey on Sunday showed Macron’s personal approval rating at just 28 percent, its lowest level since the height of the anti-government “Yellow Vest” protest movement in 2018-2019. 

Green MP Sandrine Rousseau said the coming visit by King Charles should be cancelled, telling it was “unbelievable” that the president would dine with the monarch at the Versailles Palace outside Paris “while the people are protesting in the streets”.

In an interview with Le Figaro, Macron’s former prime minister Edouard Philippe advised the president to “broaden” his political base with “a coalition” that includes representatives of the opposition on the traditional right and left.

Macron govt faces no-trust votes over unpopular French pension reform

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