Protests over pension reform, Macron government, heat up in France


Jeanne Menjoulet via Flickr

Protestors during a demonstration in Paris Jan. 19.

Protests in Paris have escalated over the past week over French President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms, with over a million people taking to the streets on March 23, according to CNN.

The reforms, which include raising France’s retirement age from 62 to 64, have been met with a fiery response from the opposition in the French government and the people of France, with large-scale protests taking place in major cities across the country.

Macron’s government enacted a controversial constitutional measure that allowed the law to pass using emergency powers. 

We cannot bet on the future of our pensions,” said Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to the National Assembly. “This reform is necessary.”

Legislators in the opposition have said the use of the measure shows that Macron does not have the necessary votes to pass the legislation. 

The voices of the French people seem to support these claims, as protests have reached their peak since beginning in mid-January. 

On the night of March 23, French police said 80 people and 123 police officers were arrested nationwide, with over 1,000 people committing acts of violence, according to CNN

Sanitation workers are on strike in Paris, leaving sidewalks piled with trash to add to already fiery protests. 

They are not the only workers on strike, with many national unions joining in, most notably teachers.

Macron’s reforms are aimed to push back disaster for an already struggling social support system, with 14% of France’s economic output going towards pensions, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation.

Eight of France’s largest labor unions have nationwide protests planned for March 28, which has led to the cancellation of a state visit by King Charles of England.