Macron defiant as anger flares over French pension reform


Published: 2023-03-22 11:05

Last Updated: 2024-06-21 15:37

Macron defiant as anger flares over French pension reform
Macron defiant as anger flares over French pension reform

French President Emmanuel Macron appeared defiant Tuesday after his government narrowly survived no-confidence votes over an increase in the retirement age, but called for calm as furious protesters kept up the pressure on the streets.

Macron said there would be no government reshuffle, no fresh parliamentary elections and no referendum on his controversial pension reform, even in the face of widespread protests that have brought millions into the streets.

"We are facing a moment in which we must appease, calm, go on the ground and listen to people's anger," he told a meeting of political allies, according to participants.

Nevertheless, as thousands gathered in central Paris and other French cities for another night of protests, Macron said "riots do not prevail over the representatives of the people."

Police fired teargas at the Paris protesters, who threw projectiles at them, and made more arrests after over 200 were detained Monday night.

The latest anger was fueled by the government's decision to invoke a notorious constitutional power to force the pensions reform through the National Assembly without a vote last week.

Macron's centrist government narrowly survived two no-confidence motions in parliament on Monday, clearing the way for the legislation raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 to enter into force.

"The reform is adopted but it is not seen as legitimate in the eyes of French people," political scientist Jerome Jaffre told France Inter radio Tuesday.

"That's a source of problems, of bitterness, and it's far from being resolved."

There were also clashes in eastern cities Dijon and Strasbourg overnight, while protesters blocked traffic in other parts of the country.