Protests, Clashes Erupt in France After Pension Reform Plan ...| MENAFN.COM

Monday, 20 March 2023 09:23 GMT

Protests, Clashes Erupt in France After Pension Reform Plan is Forced Through

(MENAFN) On Thursday evening, protests erupted in France following the government's use of special constitutional powers to force through controversial pension reforms without a parliamentary vote. The move prompted outrage from opposition members and citizens alike, with clashes breaking out in Paris and other cities. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin reported that 310 people were arrested, including 258 in Paris.

While Darmanin acknowledged the legitimacy of opposing and demonstrating against the reforms, he condemned the violence targeting symbols of the state and residences of parliamentary officials. Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters from the Place de la Concorde near the parliament, where groups of protesters set piles of rubbish and shops ablaze and hurled projectiles at police.

Following the evacuation of Place de la Concorde, protests continued in smaller streets nearby, where running battles with police were witnessed. Similar protests and clashes were also reported in Lyon and Rennes.

Earlier on Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron decided to use Article 49.3 of the Constitution to adopt the controversial draft bill without a parliamentary vote. The final version of the draft bill was supposed to be taken up for parliamentary approval after being passed by the Senate. However, Macron held consultations with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, other ministers, and heads of political parties' parliamentary groups to decide whether to use special constitutional powers to bypass the parliamentary process.

Borne then headed to parliament to give a speech and invoke Article 49.3, which angered opposition members who had previously said they would call a censure motion in case such a step was taken. The move has sparked widespread protests and unrest, raising concerns about the government's use of its executive powers to force through controversial reforms without parliamentary oversight.


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