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Third French Pension Protest

The streets of Paris and other cities in France were huddled with French union members and protestors holding signs. This is the third protest in one month. 

 People protesting against French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed pension bill stood in a massive crowd this Tuesday, January 7th, 2023, disrupting transportation, schools, and refinery supplies.

 This protest was the third since January 19th, 2023, when the first protest against a bill that Macron has been advocating for since the start of his second term took place. Most French citizens are not happy about it, and increasingly, people have joined in opposing the bill that will raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. 

 The protest today was observed to be the smallest of the three, according to the Associated Press, with less violence than the others as well. However, there were still projectiles thrown and vandalism that caused around 10 people to be detained. 

 The first protest on the 19th, however, was massively impactful, with over 1.1 million people in Paris and other cities participating in the protest. With Macron announcing his plans to continue pushing the bill, protestors got more violent, and the police used tear gas on them to subdue them after projectiles. 38 people were detained.

 Despite the growing resistance, Macron said the bill was to be formally introduced to the cabinet on January 23rd, where it was decided that it would be taken to parliament for a hearing on February 6th. On January 29th, 2023, France’s prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, said that the bill would be "no longer negotiable." 

 Enraged but also gaining support, eight French unions organized and rallied people for another protest to take place on the 31st.

 An estimated 1.27 million people participated in the second protest against the bill. This was the largest protest by far, with smoke bombs and sirens being used by protesters and police having to use tear gas against protestors near Napoleon's tomb. Services like the railway were paused, with SNCF saying most of the train services in Paris were knocked out for a couple of days. 

 The eight unions decided to plan two more protests, one on February 7th and one on February 11th. Even though the latest protest didn’t yield as high a number as the last two, the French government is still feeling the pressure from the debate.

 Macron believes that this amendment to the pension bill would keep the pension system afloat and stable, as France has an aging population. Opponents say it threatens workers' rights and suggests higher taxes on the poor.

Despite what happens in the coming days, this is the first time French unions have worked together since 2010, and lawmakers who will get a chance to vote on this are even on the fence.

However, Macron may decide to use legislative power to push it through. The future still remains in question for people looking to retire, and regardless of popular opinion, the French majority may end up taking a loss against the president.


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