By Athena Papakosta

France remains angry. Tens of thousands demonstrated yesterday, Tuesday, throughout the country against pension reform with police further beefing up already tight security after the French government warned of extremist protesters.

According to the French Ministry of the Interior, 740,000 demonstrators took part in the 10th round of strike action. But the unions talk about at least 2 million citizens on the country’s roads. For their part, analysts – in their own count – have looked at public sentiment to find that it is mostly “anti-Macron”.

The French accuse Macron of not listening to the society he is addressing and have been protesting since mid-January. However, their anger grew after the decision of the French president to bypass the parliamentary process and impose a presidential decree on the pension reform that raises the minimum age to 64 years.

“The French are headstrong and the situation is getting out of control”, declared Hélène, 70 years old, while Clement, only 26 years old, explained that “we get angrier” to then wonder “if the young people will be able to get a pension”.

According to the French Ministry of the Interior, among those demonstrating were also some, who aim to “destabilize democratic institutions” by sowing chaos, destroying and burning the country.

There were 13,000 police officers on foot – more than ever before – with half of them stationed in the French capital where incidents broke out. Clashes between police and protesters also occurred in Rennes, Bordeaux, Nantes and Toulouse. By late last night, at least 27 arrests had been announced, while labor unions announced that the next major mobilization will be on April 6 across the country.

Earlier it was revealed they had asked the government to put the brakes on its retirement plan and appoint mediators to start consultations. The Macron government, however, considers the draft law on the insurance “necessary” and rejected the proposal, calling on the unions to talk about the future of other labor issues.

From today, the residents and tourists of Paris will be able to take a breather after the permanent strike of the workers in the collection and incineration services is suspended. But this does not mean that the anger begins to dissipate slowly. The French say their patience is wearing thin but their endurance to strike – and therefore not be paid – remains strong.

For its part, the opposition calls on Macron to take a step back, even citing the “example” of Netanyahu who “froze” for a month his own reform in order to find the required consensus in the country. But Macron is not changing course and the next day in France remains difficult.

Macron’s popularity is plummeting. Millions of citizens, voters of different parties, are rallying against him. The opposition has turned its back on him and is calling on the protesters to continue taking to the streets while if there was even one potential ally on the horizon it is now being ignored.

So how will the French president govern even if he gets the green light from France’s Constitutional Council? How will he ask citizens, parties and unions to listen to him when he closes his ears and refuses to negotiate with them? Will the victory or the losses be greater, in the end, for Emmanuel Macron?