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Mass Protests Envelop France As Macron Forces Through Pension Cuts

By Danny Weller


(AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)


After Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced that President Emmanuel Macron’s pension cuts would be imposed without a vote in the National Assembly, France has been rocked by mass protests yet again. 


This flies in the face of mass anger and opposition to these cuts, with strikes and protests taking place nationwide for the last two months, involving millions of people. There have been growing calls for a general strike to force Macron to withdraw the cuts. As CGT-Energy bureaucrat Frédéric Ben warned, “A certain insurrection is possible”.


Riot police have attacked mass protests in Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, Rennes, Brest, Dijon, Angers and Besançon. At Place de la Concorde in the nation’s capital, tens of thousands of protestors faced police armed with tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons and assault rifles. Clashes broke out after police charged the protest, leading to the arrests of 120 demonstrators. 


These pension cuts were passed with Macron activating line 3 of Article 49 of France’s constitution, which gives the government authority to force the National Assembly to adopt legislation without a vote. The only exception is if the Assembly polls to bring down the government. 


Macron warned his council of ministers of catastrophic consequences if the legislation was voted down in the National Assembly, particularly amidst the current financial crisis and with fears of the failure of European banks after Credit Suisse failed.  


Macron stated, “My political interest and my political will were to go to a vote … but I consider that in the current situation, the financial and economic risks were too great.” 

While Macron claims that the cuts are necessary to ensure the efficacy of the French pension system, Macron also seeks to fund his proposed €413 billion military budget and escalation of French involvement in the Russia- Ukraine conflict.


 As these cuts are being forced on the French people, France is engaging in its largest military exercise in history, Orion 23, which is costing €35 million. 


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