France, despite the demonstrations Macron promulgates the pension reform: it is law

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In France, the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron promulgated the pension reform law, including the postponement of the statutory retirement age to 64 years. Today’s Official Journal reports it. Macron’s signature came after the text was validated yesterday by the Constitutional Council. For weeks in the country there have been protests against the reform and new marches are scheduled for today. The unions had “solemnly” asked the president not to “promulgate the law” and criticized Macron’s choice to sign at night: it is “a provocation”, they said. The request of 250 opposition MPs to hold a referendum was also rejected. Unions and opposition are working on a day of general protest, already announced for May 1st. Meanwhile, the Elysium has announced that Macron will speak to the French on TV on Monday evening. According to BFM TV it will be a pre-recorded speech, which will be broadcast by the main television stations at 8pm.

Demonstrations and clashes throughout France

In France, the strikes and battles in the squares have been going on for three months. Yesterday too, especially in the evening, there were several spontaneous demonstrations and improvised marches in various cities, with not a little violence on the sidelines. In Paris there were many clashes with the police, burnt bins and vandalism, with a final balance of 112 arrested. In the capital, the demonstrations continued in various districts of the city until late in the evening, after having begun in the afternoon following the announcement of the verdict of the Constitutional Council, which validated a large part of the pension reform. The incidents began in the square of the Hotel de Ville, where some 4,000 demonstrators had gathered to protest, then continued on the rue de Rivoli, up to the place de la République. Other groups of young people left in procession from the Gare Saint-Lazare. Around 21, incidents and police charges followed in many neighborhoods. Demonstrations and rallies were organized in various cities, such as Lille, Dijon, Caen, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse. In Rennes, the door of a police station was set on fire. In Marseille, protesters descended on the platforms at Saint-Charles station, where trains were suspended. In Strasbourg, several hundred people started a spontaneous demonstration which ended in violence and with the firing of tear gas by the police. Incidents also occurred in Bordeaux, Lyon and Grenoble, where there were clashes between demonstrators and the police.

The reactions

After the announcement of the go-ahead from the Constitutional Council to the text – with the approval of the article which increases the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64, the rejection of the social corrections and the popular referendum on the reform -, the trade unions had asked to Macron not to promulgate the law. “We appeal to Macron not to promulgate this law. If he does, he will no longer be able to control the country, he will not govern himself against the people”, said Sophie Binet, the new secretary of the most powerful union, the CGT. She then rejected the president’s invitation to a peacemaking meeting: “As of now, we reject Macron’s invitation to a meeting next Tuesday”. “The struggle continues”, said the tribune of the left Jean-Luc Mélenchon instead. “The political fate of the pension reform has not been decided, the people always have the last word and it will be up to the people to prepare the alternative that will come back to this useless and unjust reform,” commented Marine Le Pen. “There are no winners or losers tonight,” said Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.