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Protesters continue mobilizing in France over adoption of pension reform

Protesters continue mobilizing in France over adoption of pension reform
Dozens arrested Tuesday in Paris during violent demonstrations

By Nur Asena Erturk

ANKARA (AA) - 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.

- More than 300 police officers injured

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.

- Preventive arrests

France's Defender of Rights Ombudsman Claire Hedon in a statement on Tuesday warned the authorities about the use of force against the protesters.

She also stressed that preventive arrests during the demonstrations may result in the deprivation of liberty in a disproportionate way.

"Personal freedom can only be limited within the legal framework and conditions," Hedon added.

- Legitimacy of social movement

President Emmanuel Macron had a busy Tuesday, where he received government, parliament, and political party officials.

During the meetings, he reportedly said the crowds do not have legitimacy in the face of the people who express themselves through elected officials, Le Figaro reported, citing some attendees.

"Swarms do not prevail over the nation's representatives," Macron reportedly said, adding that he would not choose any of the evoked options. Neither a Cabinet shuffle, nor a parliament dissolution or a referendum, attendees said, according to the report.

- Pension reform plan, source of popular furor

The French government used special constitutional powers last week to force the plan through, prompting opposing parties to submit no-confidence motions over the measure that would increase the retirement age.

Members of the parliament rejected both censure motions, however, so officially adopting the draft bill.

Macron and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne decided to invoke Article 49.3 of the Constitution, a mechanism that lets the government adopt the draft bill without parliamentary approval.

The decision was driven by fear that lawmakers would be able to block the reforms as the government does not hold an absolute majority in the legislature.

The government revealed the reform project in January and parliament started examining and debating the draft bill the following month.

Workers and trade unions have since expressed growing outrage by holding demonstrations and walkouts.

The reform project includes raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 in 2030, requiring at least 43 years of work to be eligible for a full pension.

source: News Feed
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