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Police and protesters clash in France against pension reform


Kabul: Police in France have scuffled with protesters, on the 12th day of nationwide demonstrations against the government’s pension plans.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across the country on Thursday against President Emmanuel Macron’s contested plans, which will raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Paris police chief Laurent Nunez had warned in advance that protesters might “hit out, often against what they see as capitalist signs”.

The protesters engaged in intense scuffles with police as smoke bombs, projectiles and tear gas were fired, before a group set off red flares outside the court building.

If the council gives its approval, possibly with some caveats, the government will hope this will eventually put an end to protests, which have coalesced widespread anger against Macron.

But protesters said they would keep up the fight if the council gave a green light. “We don’t want to work until 64,” 50-year-old teacher Kathy Brochard told Reuters at the Paris rally.

Protesters want the bill withdrawn – or subjected to a referendum.

Polls show about two-third of the French population is against the increase in retirement age.

Macron and his government argue the new law is needed to ensure that France’s generous pension system does not go bust.

Political analysts believes that widespread discontent over the government’s reform could have long-term repercussions, including a possible boost for the far right.

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