Macron Faces Significant Challenge
President Emmanuel Macron is experiencing the most severe challenge to his authority since the "Gilets Jaunes" (Yellow Vests) protests in December 2018. This unrest is exacerbated by rubbish accumulating on Paris streets after refuse workers joined the strikes.
TotalEnergies Workers Join Strike
On Saturday, a TotalEnergies spokesperson announced that 37% of operational staff at their refineries and depots were on strike, impacting sites like Feyzin and Normandy. Rolling strikes also continued on the railways.
Clashes with Riot Police in Paris
Riot police clashed with protesters near the Assemblee Nationale parliament building on Friday evening, resulting in 61 arrests. The Paris Prefecture banned rallies on Place de la Concorde and the nearby Champs-Elysees in response.
Additional Protests and Activist Actions
A further rally was scheduled for Place d'Italie in southern Paris on Saturday. Meanwhile, students and activists from the "Revolution Permanente" collective briefly invaded the Forum des Halles shopping mall, demanding a general strike.
Demonstrations Spread to Other Cities
Protests extended beyond Paris, with demonstrations in cities like Compiegne, Nantes, and Marseille, as shown by BFM television.
Minister Calls for Respect of Democracy
Digital Transition and Telecommunications Minister Jean-Noel Barrot urged respect for parliamentary democracy and condemned violence on Sud radio.
Unions Continue to Mobilize Against Reforms
France's main unions formed a broad alliance to mobilize against the pension age reform, attempting to force a reversal of the changes. A nationwide day of industrial action is planned for Thursday.
Comparisons to Yellow Vest Protests
The recent unrest is reminiscent of the Yellow Vest protests of late 2018, which forced Macron to backtrack on a carbon tax partially. The current pension age reform raises the age by two years to 64, a move the government deems necessary to prevent the system from collapsing.