More than 7,000 protesters gathered at Place de la Concorde in Paris on Thursday after France’s Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne used a special procedure to push an unpopular pensions bill through the National Assembly without a vote.
French gov’t’s unpopular pension bill pushed through without vote
Borne’s minority government could not get the necessary backing from the opposition conservative Les Republicains party.
The move will ensure the bill raising the retirement age by two years to 64 – which the government says is essential to ensure the pension system does not go bust – is adopted after weeks of protests and fractious debate.
But it also shows President Emmanuel Macron and his government failed to garner a majority in parliament, in a blow to the centrist president and his ability to win support from other parties for further reforms.
“I am ashamed of the government, who goes on, who does not listen to the people, who no longer trusts their MPs, why did they not put it to vote for this reform, I’m ashamed of them and on the other hand, I am proud of all the people who fight for the rights of our society.” Sorbonne University researcher Stephanie Debouef who attended the protest said.
“In short, what is the point? It’s just Emmanuel Macron saying, we need this pension reform, he’s refusing to budge, he’s refusing to budge with 49:3 now, but we see that politically it’s over, he has to stop and he has to stop this reform,” protester Arnaud Cora said.
Police fired tear gas at protesters on the Place de la Concorde. One Reuters reporter saw cobble stones being thrown at the police, who charged in an effort to break up groups of protesters.