The French unions do not give up in their social pulse against the pension reform of the president, Emmanuel Macron, the main recipient of criticism during the ninth day of mobilizationmarred by altercations caused by violent individuals in several cities.
The more than 300 demonstrations called in the country concentrated 3.5 million peopleaccording to union data, which means equaling the record of March 7, although the Government figures are more modest, slightly above one million, slightly less than other days.
Despite the approval of the law, the protest movement against the pension reform has not lost steam, supported by the incorporation of many young people, according to student organizations, and by sectors on strike that, such as fuel, They threaten to paralyze the economy.
The tightness of the result that allowed the reform to go ahead last Monday for only nine votes and the firmness of Macron, willing to apply it before the end of the year despite his unpopularity, seem to have strengthened the protest, after two days in which the demonstrations had weakened.
The slogans against the president were the most repeated in the demonstrations, which, as in the previous days, ended in many cases with acts of vandalism and altercations with the policedespite the constant appeals of the union leaders to avoid this type of actions that threaten to cloud their demands.
Paris was again under the spotlight, both because of the size of the demonstration (800,000 people according to the unions, 119,000 according to the Interior, in both record cases) and because of the images of the altercations with the police.
Unlike other occasions, the violent acted even before the arrival of the official head of the union demonstration, which, unrelated to the disturbances, proceeded normally.
But it passed through a path marked out by the ashes of small fires, cracked shop windows and demolished street furniture and with the smoke of the tear gas used by the police still in the environment.
The still hot scene of a pitched battle between the violent militants, dressed in black and with their heads and faces covered, who launched projectiles at the riot police who had to multiply to appease their actions.
Similar situations were experienced in other cities, such as Rennes, where the police used two water cannons to disperse the demonstrators, but also in Nantes, Lorient, Bordeaux and Marseille, where urban guerrilla scenes reminiscent of those of years ago. three years with the yellow vests.
The main union leaders accused Macron of “add fuel to the fire” of the violent protests by describing the protesters as a “crowd” and by comparing the violent acts in France with actions such as the assault on the Capitol in the United States or the Parliament of Brazil. .
“It’s a provocation” indicated the leader of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, the most combative of the united front unions, which is also leading other types of actions, such as the blockade of fuel depots.
Your colleague laurent bergerat the head of the most dialogue CFDT, did not embrace the hand that Macron had extended to him the day before, who appealed to restore the dialogue, something that, for now, seems complex in view of the positions so far away.
But he warned against the danger that violence would cause them to lose the battle of public opinion, which for now the polls place overwhelmingly against the pension reform.
The unions are committed to continuing with the pressure against a reform that delays the minimum retirement age by two years, until 64, while the president considers that this measure is inevitable for public finances damaged by the covid crisis and the war in Ukraine.
The next few days seem decisive to know the outcome of a crisis that does not seem to end with the adoption of the text by the legislature, which contravenes Macron’s plans to continue with his political agenda.