Protests in France
Emmanuel Macron is being threatened with more protests against his decision to enact parts of his pension reform and raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 64. Les Patriotes leader Florian Philippot is organising a “colossal protest” on May 1, International Workers Day, calling on supporters to demand France also exit from the EU to become fully independent.
In a note sent to Express.co.uk, Philippot said: “The veil of lies has been torn, we see everything! A President totally above ground, contemptuous, profusely booed wherever he goes! The same goes for ministers. A Constitutional Council which confirmed on pensions, as during the Covid, that it was submitted, for the caste against the French!
“But also a popular anger which does not fall, which takes an increasingly noisy turn with these concerts of saucepans everywhere in France, an increasingly acute revolt against the Macronie and against the oligarchy!
“We want to breathe, to free ourselves from the Macronist clique and from the European Union, from big finance, this little world that is fattening on our backs, stealing our sovereignty, our freedoms, our lives.
“We are millions: we will take everything back! We push for the vote of motions of censure to overthrow the government, for the dismissal of Macron, and for the release by Frexit! Here it is not ‘opposition’, but total resistance!”
He added: “On May 1st, the parade of ‘total resistance in sacred union’ that we are organising will be colossal.”
It comes as hundreds of people opposed to the law raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 gathered on Thursday in a small town in southern France ahead of President Emmanuel Macron’s planned visit, while some other scattered protest actions were staged across France.
Macron’s trip to the town of Ganges comes amid a concerted new effort by him and his government to move on from the furore caused by the pension change.
People could be heard singing what has become the anthem of the retirement protests: “We are here, we are here, even if Macron doesn’t want (us to be here), we are here.”
The French President was to meet teachers and students at a middle school, where he was scheduled to promote his education policies. At his arrival, the site was affected by a power cut, which the local branch of the hard-left CGT union said was a protest action.
Dozens of police officers were deployed in the small town to prevent the crowd from getting close to the school. They briefly used tear gas to disperse people when some tried to storm the barriers.
On Wednesday, Macron went to eastern France, where he mingled among a crowd for the first time since he enacted the law last week. Many seized the occasion to voice their anger.
Opponents have been even more infuriated after Macron’s government in March forced the legislation through parliament, using special government powers.
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The CGT union has called for scattered protest actions across the country. In Paris, hundreds of people gathered for a peaceful demonstration at the Gare de Lyon train station.
Some protesters in the northern city of Lille walked along the railway line, blocking all train traffic for about one hour. They then left the site peacefully.
Several unions joined a strike at the national railway company SNCF, slightly disrupting train traffic Thursday. Some regional lines and Paris suburban trains were affected, while high-speed trains were running almost as normal, the SNCF said.
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