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French unions promise new protests against 10th general strike against Macron pension plans – POLITICO

PARIS — French unions have vowed to continue protests next week amid another day of protests on Tuesday against French President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension reforms — the 10th general strike this year.

clashes broke out between small groups of protesters and the police, notably in Paris, where some people also ransacked a supermarket. But the number of protesters has also fallen almost everywhere in the country compared to last week, according to estimates by French authorities and trade unions. Around 730,000 people demonstrated in total, up from more than a million last Thursday, according the French Ministry of the Interior. Estimates from the CGT union, meanwhile, calculated that the number of protesters rose from 3.5 million last week to around 2 million on Tuesday.

But Parisians can expect some relief for their noses on Wednesday when garbage collectors are expected to return to work after weeks of a strike that left piles of rubbish piled up along the streets.

The protests have been going on since the start of the year, prompted by Macron’s plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 and increase the level of contributions required to qualify for a full pension. Discontent mounted earlier this month when the government moved to force the measures through parliament without a vote, raising fears the protests could turn into a wider anti-government movement like the Yellow Jackets, which caused months of unrest during Macron’s first term.

Tuesday’s strikes hit sectors such as public transport and schools, as well as power plants and oil refineries, causing fuel shortages.

But the Macron administration has shown no signs that it will revise the reforms. Government spokesman Olivier Véran on Tuesday rejected a proposal from the CFDT union to freeze the measures and find a mediator to resolve the situation.

But Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has invited union delegates to meet early next week for talks, according to CFDT leader Laurent Berger.

“Anger is starting to mount, even among the most peaceful protesters,” Berger said. said broadcaster TMC on Tuesday night after the protests ended.

The main unions are still planning a new day of strikes and demonstrations next Thursday.

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