PARIS (AP) — Protesters disrupted vehicular traffic at Paris’ main airport while police fired a cloud of tear gas in other French cities in a call for President Emmanuel Macron to abolish pensions. A reform that ignited a months-long conflagration of public outrage.
In Paris, a mouse trap party threw a rodent carcass at City Hall to set the tone. Wednesday’s protest is one of the more shocking examples of how President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the national retirement age from his 62 to his 64 has angered workers. Broadcaster BFMTV showed the emaciated carcass of a rodent being tossed by workers in white protective suits.
Natasha Pommet, head of the CGT trade union’s public service sector, said Thursday that the Paris mousetraps want to “show a stark reality of their mission”, and that opposition to Macron’s pension reforms is the result of workers’ The wider movement of dissatisfaction is changing, he said. About salary and other complaints.
“All this anger brings up all kinds of anger,” she said in a phone interview.
Ten rounds of nationwide strikes and protests so far since January have failed to change course for President Macron, with Thursday’s 11th unrest coming back from his government. There were no signs.
Negotiations between trade union leaders and Prime Minister Elizabeth Born quickly broke down on Wednesday, readying protesters to return to the streets.
Largely peaceful crowds marched behind the union’s colored flags and banners in Marseille on the Mediterranean coast, Bordeaux in the southwest, Lyon in the southeast and other cities. In Paris, strikers have again closed the Eiffel Tower.
In the western city of Nantes, a rumbling tractor joined the parade of marchers and a thick cloud of police tear gas was deployed against demonstrators. The use of police tears was also reported in Lyon and Rennes, a city in Brittany.
At Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, about 100 demonstrators blocked the road leading to Terminal 1 and broke into the terminal building on Thursday morning, the airport operator said. Flights were unaffected, but travelers towing luggage had to drive past flag-waving protesters.
Loris Foreman, the airport’s CGT representative, told BFM TV that the demonstrators “want to show the world and Europe that they don’t want to work until they are 64.”
The workers’ strike has had a lesser impact on transport services than the previous day’s protests, with some cities reporting no more demonstrators. Yet, albeit somewhat reduced, marches across the country showed that opposition to pension reform remained strong.
It is “deep anger, cold anger,” said newly elected CGT union general secretary Sophie Binet. She described Macron’s government as “totally cut off from the state and completely bunkered by ministries”.
“We can’t turn the page until the reforms are reversed,” she said, promising further protests.
Masha Macpherson and Helena Alves of Paris contributed to this report.
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