March 24, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

France on fire, thousands of protesters radicalize (video)

Across France, protests do not subside in connection with the adoption of pension reform bypassing Parliament. On Saturday, 76 protesters were detained in the area of ​​Place d’Italie in the south of Paris.

The decision of the French government to “push” the bill, which provides for an increase in the retirement age from 62 to 64 years, despite the likely lack of a majority in the National Assembly, has led to a political crisis and the radicalization of opponents of the new law.

On Saturday evening, Parisian demonstrators, at the call of the left-wing trade union CGT (“General Confederation of Labor”), gathered in the south of the capital. The police cordoned off the Champs Elysees and Place de la Concorde. AFP reports riots raging along the route of aggressive protesters – they set fire to garbage cans, destroyed billboards, cracked down on parked bicycles, blocked the roadway. As the newspaper “Mond” writes, to disperse the action, the security forces use water cannons and tear gas.

More than 60 people were detained during clashes in the French capital on Friday. The prefecture in Lyon, the third largest city in the country, reported 36 arrests; during the riots, a group of radicals broke into the building of one of the district councils. It is reported about acts of vandalism in the premises and an attempt to set fire to the main entrance. The mayor of the city, Gregory Doucet, condemned the forced entry into the building and criticized the country’s leadership:

“The authorities had no reason to hurry with the adoption of this unfair reform. The tension, both in the street and in parliament, is a consequence of the ongoing policy.”

Thousands of rallies were held on Friday in Strasbourg in the east of the country, in Lille in the north, on the streets of Nantes, Brest and Bordeaux in the west. On Monday, the lower house of parliament will vote on a vote of no confidence in the government. The corresponding drafts were submitted by the deputies of the far-right “National Association” and the Liot group of independent deputies, which includes centrists, representatives of overseas territories and Corsican nationalists. The factions on the left are likely to support the Liot project. Observers, however, note that the opposition has little chance of winning a majority and dismissing the Cabinet, headed by Elizabeth Bourne.

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