France: Hundreds injured police officers in protests

According to the Interior Ministry, hundreds of police officers were injured and hundreds of protesters arrested in France during the sometimes violent protests against the pension reform.

The visit of King Charles III. will be postponed. / France: Hundreds injured police officers in protests

According to Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, around 440 police officers were injured in protests against the controversial pension reform, some of which were overshadowed by violence. A total of 457 people were arrested as part of the nationwide demonstrations, Darmanin said on TV channel CNews.

According to the Interior Ministry, more than a million people took to the streets in France yesterday against the government’s plans, and the unions spoke of 3.5 million participants. There were clashes between police and demonstrators in several cities.

Numerous fires across the country

Since the center government under President Emmanuel Macron pushed through the controversial pension reform last week without a vote by the National Assembly, there has been an increase in violence during protests: in Paris, the police fired tear gas and used batons against the crowd.

Some protesters set fire to piles of rubbish lying by the roadside as a result of the ongoing refuse collectors’ strike. The fire department had to intervene. In Paris alone, 903 fires were lit, Darmanin said. There is a “radicalization” on the part of “left-wing extremists” who want to “attack the republic,” said Darmanin, who is considered a right-winger within the government led by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.

In Bordeaux, the gate of the town hall was set on fire during the protests. It is difficult for him to “understand and accept this type of vandalism,” said the city’s mayor, Pierre Hurmic, on radio station RTL.

Flight control calls for flight cancellations

The civil aviation authority DGAC asked the airlines in the country to cancel 33 percent of the planned take-offs at Paris Orly Airport on Sunday. Accordingly, 20 percent of the flights are to be canceled for Monday. A fifth of the flights are also to be canceled in Marseille and Lyon – according to the authorities, this should also happen on Monday in Marseille.

DGAC had previously requested the cancellation of a similar proportion of flights in Paris-Orly, Marseille, Bordeaux and Lyon for today and tomorrow. Impacts on air traffic in the rest of Europe are also expected. Restrictions on public life are likely to affect France in the coming days.

New protests against pension reform

The protests against the planned pension reform in France are continuing today with isolated actions. In Marseille, trucks blocked access to the commercial port. Train traffic was limited, and in Paris uncollected rubbish continued to accumulate on the streets.

According to Energy Transition Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the Gonfreville-L’Orcher refinery in Normandy has resumed fuel supplies to Paris after police intervention. However, at the Fos-sur-Mer oil terminal near Marseille, demonstrators planned further blockades of oil refineries.

Visit of King Charles III. delay

Meanwhile, the Elysée Palace has announced that British King Charles III’s visit to France, originally planned for Sunday, has been canceled due to the nationwide protests. and Queen Camilla is postponed. The decision was made after a phone call between Charles and French President Macron.

It would have been Charles’ first visit abroad as British head of state. A new date for the visit has not yet been set. Charles was originally supposed to come to France from Sunday to Wednesday. He is expected in Germany from March 29th.

Controversial reform to come into force by the end of the year

Pension reform is considered one of President Macron’s key projects. The government wants to gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 years. In addition, the number of payment years required for a full pension should increase more quickly. This is intended to avert an imminent hole in the pension fund.

The unions consider the project unfair and brutal. The text has been approved, but is still with the Constitutional Council for review. Macron wants the reform to come into force by the end of the year.

Protests against pension reform: More than 200 arrests in Paris


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