Paris [France], May 2: Tens of thousands of people in France took to the streets on May 1, International Workers' Day, for renewed protests against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform.
Demonstration marches set off in cities and smaller towns in the provinces on Monday morning. The trade unions had called for more than 300 rallies. Throughout the country, the authorities expected between 500,000 and 650,000 participants and in Paris, up to 100,000. Macron's centrist government sees the pension reform, which pushes the retirement age to 64 from 62, as a done deal. However, unions and some opposition members have not given up the fight and want to prevent the bill's implementation on September 1.
Strikes were ongoing over the long weekend and even disrupted air traffic in France. The police were preparing for feared riots, but the situation was mostly relaxed at midday. Drones were expected to be used for the first time in Paris and other major cities to monitor the protests. In recent years between 100,000 and 160,000 people have gathered nationwide for May Day rallies in France.
The last protests against the pension reform took place a fortnight after Macron enacted the bill. The fact that the government pushed through the reform without a vote in parliament using a special paragraph continues to cause resentment. The question now is whether the demonstrations on May 1 will be the last big rallies against the reform. Theparticipation has declined, and there are signs of a break-up of the unions' common front.
Source: Qatar Tribune