“Violent Clashes Erupt Across France as Macron Triggers Civil War – Watch Video Coverage”

In Lorient, a police station was set on fire, and in Nantes, the entrance to the Administrative Court building was smashed. There are also injured police officers

French unions staged the first mass demonstrations today after French President Emmanuel Macron stoked public anger by pushing through pension reform without a vote in parliament, the Associated Press reported.

The French president has so far stubbornly resisted the growing discontent on the country’s streets, saying yesterday that the reform to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 should be introduced by the end of the year.

Critics attacked Macron for the comments, describing him as “smug”, unaware of what was going on and abusive.

The beginning of the demonstrations in Paris began at 14:00 local time, but the mobilization in the countryside was already breaking records.

The movement of the metro and suburban trains is disrupted. Protesters took to the tracks with union flags and some held flares. They are calling for the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Many teachers have joined the strike, and schools are closed. The teachers’ union claims that 70% of professionals are on strike in Paris. The staff of a number of schools in Rouen, Marseille, Toulouse and other French cities also joined the strike, the press in France informed.

There are also clashes with the police on the streets of most major cities. Barricades are erected, fires are lit in the streets. In Lorient, a police station was set on fire, and in Nantes, the entrance to the Administrative Court building was smashed. There are also injured police officers.

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“We will not give up because we are the majority against Macron in this country, he must listen to us”, says a protesting pensioner in Bordeaux, in front of the “Mond” village. He condemned “Macron’s reform and socio-economic policies as elitist, making the poor pay”.

According to Figaro’s count, 350,000 demonstrators took to the streets of France at 2:00 p.m., compared with 154,000 on March 15 at the same time and 428,000 on March 7.

Following the mobilization today, the trade unions organizing the protests will meet this evening to consider the next steps of the social movement. They are also counting on a possible referendum to force the executive branch to bend.

Macron’s comments yesterday were the first since the government forced through pension reform last week because of a lack of support. French president defends ‘necessary’ reform and opposes ‘extreme violence’

The cabinet subsequently survived two no-confidence votes in France’s National Assembly (the lower house of parliament) on Monday.

The bill must be examined by the French Constitutional Council before becoming law.

In his second and final term, Macron, 45, has consistently said the pension reform needs to be changed in order to secure its funding. Opponents of the reform have proposed other solutions, including higher taxes on the wealthy and companies that Macron says will affect the economy.

The head of France’s largest trade union CFDT, Laurent Berget, told BFM television that the government should withdraw the pension reform.

The Dunkirk LNG terminal was locked down early this morning after workers voted to renew a strike over pension reform, a union source said. It will be blocked until tomorrow morning, with a general meeting to be held at noon to decide whether the strike will resume again, according to the source.

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The latest wave of protests is the most serious challenge to Macron’s rule since the Yellow Vest uprising four years ago. According to polls, the majority of French oppose the pension reform, as well as the decision to adopt it without a vote.

Labor Minister Olivier Dussault said that the government does not deny the tension that has arisen, but wants to continue with the reform.

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