Rejecting pension reforms, demonstrators and police clashed across France. Photo/US News
PARIS – The protesters are angry with the President Emmanuel Macron and his plans to raise the retirement age are blocking access to airport terminals, sitting on railroad tracks and clashing with police all over French .
In central Paris, where demonstrations were peaceful, police used tear gas after protesters threw projectiles and set trash cans on fire. A McDonald’s restaurant was even searched.
Small groups of “Black Bloc” anarchists were seen among the protesters. Unions fear the protests could become more violent if there continues to be no political response from the government.
Roissy-Charles De Gaulle airport outside Paris was hit by a riot by workers.
Police also fired tear gas at protesters in several other cities, including the western city of Nantes and Bordeaux. In Rennes, they used water cannons. In the western city of Lorient, the Ouest-France newspaper said the projectiles caused a brief fire in the police station grounds.
“There is a lot of anger, an explosive situation,” said the leader of the hardline CGT union, Philippe Martinez, at the start of the rally in Paris.
Union leaders called for calm but were angered by what they called Macron’s “provocative” comments.
Macron himself finally spoke up after weeks of silence about his policies. He said he would stand by his decision and the law would come into effect at the end of the year. He compared the protests to the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Opinion polls have long shown that a majority of voters oppose a two-year delay to 64.
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