A total of 310 people were arrested yesterday, Thursday, in France, including 258 in Paris, in the large demonstrations against the adoption without a vote by the National Assembly of the controversial reform of the pension system, which continued in the morning with the temporary blockade of the regional highway of the French capital.

“Opposition is legitimate, demonstrations are legitimate, rioting is not,” French Interior Minister Géral Darmanen told RTL today, announcing the 310 arrests. “Church and village squares are not ZAD!” (Zone à Defendre, Super Defense Zone), he added, mainly denouncing “the burning of effigies” in Dijon and that “prefectures were targeted” last night.

The forces of order intervened early last night in the Place de la Concorde, near the National Assembly building. The square was occupied by thousands of protesters who were opposed to the pension reform.

In Paris at the height of the protests, 10,000 people had gathered in this square, in the center of the French capital, according to Darmanen. In 24 other cities in France, 52,000 people participated in demonstrations, according to police.

In the middle of the afternoon, the first demonstrators began to gather in this square at the request of the Solidaires union as soon as the Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne announced before the MPs that the controversial pension reform will pass without a vote in the National Assembly following an appeal to Article 49.3 of French Constitution.

In the morning about 200 demonstrators, who responded to the call of the local branch of the Ile-de-France union CGT, blocked traffic on the Paris regional artery for about half an hour, as part of a protest action for the pension reform and the recourse to the article 49.3 of the Constitution, according to an AFP journalist.

Demonstrators ran onto the pavement around 07:30 at the Cliniacour gate in the north of the French capital, with smoke bombs and blocked traffic.

Shortly after 08:00 the protesters left the ring road and remained on one of the access roads to it and traffic was able to be restored. The protesters then dispersed peacefully without the intervention of the police officers who were present.

The French government’s plan raises the minimum retirement age by two years, so most people he should be 64 years old — and have paid a certain amount of social security contributions — to be able to receive a full state pension. Macron said the increase was necessary to reflect changing demographics. For example, life expectancy in France has increased by about three years over the past two decades. If the retirement age remains constant at 62, there will be only 1.2 tax-paying workers to support every 1 retiree in 2070, down from 1.7 in 2020, according to government figures.

France already spends more on pensions than many other rich European countries. The state’s pension spending was equal to 13.6 percent of its economy in 2021, compared with about 10 percent in Germany and almost 11 percent in Spain, according to the OECD. Macron’s plan would boost the country’s pension system by $19 billion by 2030, Reuters reported. However, opponents argue that the measure will disproportionately affect workers, who are more likely to start work at a younger age than their white-collar counterparts. (People employed in certain occupations considered physically or mentally demanding will still retire early with a full pension.)