Tension erupts between protesters and police on Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle in Paris – At least 14 arrests so far – Over 800,000 protesters according to CGT union
Hundreds of protests are underway across France from hundreds of citizens who have taken to the streets to protest the Macron government’s bill raising the retirement age from 62 to 64.
🛑 Grosse charge au beau milieu du boulevard, à proximité du musée Grévin, sous les huees des manifestants. @Le_Figaro pic.twitter.com/LBVEfxwwjp
— Hugues Maillot (@HuguesMaillot) March 23, 2023
More than 300 demonstrations lare taking place across the country, according to French police, and there are also tensions between protesters and police that erupted earlier on Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle in Paris. Paris police said they were “targeted around the Place de la République” and that the “attackers” were pushed back by throwing tear gas. Police said they have arrested at least 14 people so far.
Alongside, in the city of Rennesin the country’s northwest police fired water cannons and tear gas as some hooded protesters set up roadblocks.
Crowds of people also gathered in the south and mainly in Marseille, Nice and Toulon.
#Paristensions toujours en cours, le cortège de tête a été split into several groups. #manif23mars#Greve23March#blockagetotal#manifestation#manifestations #ReformeDesRetraites#macron13h pic.twitter.com/4KCCF88ECQ
— Jules Ravel (@JulesRavel1) March 23, 2023
The CGT union said around 800,000 people had gathered in the capital – the highest number so far. The Ministry of the Interior has not yet given its assessment.
In the city of Lorientprotesters attacked a police station and a local prefectural office.
French channel BFMTV reported that “at least 350-400 people” all dressed in black used “large” fireworks and targeted a McDonald’s in the St Denis area in Strasbourg. The police reportedly pushed them back, also using tear gas.
in Lyon, hundreds of railway workers, students and others have flooded the railway tracks disrupting train services.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the attacks were unacceptable and could not go unpunished.
Since the early morning, Paris has been “fortified” for fear of incidents. On the way from the Bastille to the Opéra, shops, banks and businesses were cordoned off early in the morning and police officers were stationed along the streets.
The widespread strikes have caused serious consequences for public transport and air transport, even flight cancellations. Airport authorities said the protests would have an impact on weekend flights. About 30% of flights scheduled to depart from Orly Airport, south of Paris, are expected to be canceled on Friday and Saturday as well 20% of departures from Marseille, Bordeaux and Lyon. On Thursday morning, protesters blocked Terminal 1 at Charles de Gaulle airport north of Paris.
Also, schools and colleges are closed throughout France, including Paris, Rouen, Marseille and Toulouse.
In a televised interview that Emmanuel Macron gave yesterday Wednesday, he ruled out the dissolution of parliament, the reshuffle of his centrist government and the resignation of his prime minister, Elizabeth Bourne, as demanded by the opposition.
He claimed that his only regret was “not being able to convince people of the necessity of this reform”.
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