At least 26 detained in Paris during protests
One million people have demonstrated this Saturday throughout France to protest against the reform of the pension system promoted by the Government of President Emmanuel Macron, according to the conveners, of which 300,000 would only be in the protest in Paris.
The Paris Police Prefecture has placed the number of attendees in the capital at 48,000, while the Ministry of the Interior has confirmed 368,000 protesters in 251 rallies and demonstrations recorded throughout France.
This is the day with the least participation since the beginning of the mobilizations, seven weeks ago, far from the 963,000 on February 11 or the record of 1.28 million on March 7, according to police figures. "The days are not compared, they add up," argued the general secretary of the National Union of Autonomous Trade Unions (UNSA), Laurent Escure.
Meanwhile, there are at least 26 detainees in the French capital, according to the latest data from the Paris Police Prefecture, quoted by BFMTV television. The agents themselves have reported the presence of hooded individuals who have staged attacks on businesses.
The day of protest, the seventh consecutive weekly mobilization, has been called by the main French unions, with the General Confederation of Workers (CGT) at the head, while the opposition also supports the mobilizations. The leader of La France Insoumisa, Jean-Luc Mélenchon was present at the Marseille demonstration along with 7,000 people.
"I think we need a democratic way out of this impasse," said the leftist leader, who thus supports the option of popular consultation.
"Mr. Macron leaves us no other chance (...). We hope that in a few days he ends up understanding that this cannot last like this," he added. "We never had the impression that power was so weak and, at the same time, novel, ridiculous, with too many words, inappropriate gestures," he has indicated.
For his part, the Secretary General of the General Confederation of Workers (CGT), Philippe Martínez, declared at the start of the Paris demonstration that "if (Macron) is so sure of himself, we invite him to consult the French ". "It is democracy", he has riveted himself.
For Martínez, "the majority is absolute in opposition to this unjust reform and in support of the mobilizations and strikes", added the union leader.
The Fuerza Obrera (FO) union has denounced Macron's "contempt" in the face of the response. "His response from him is a form of contempt," said the general secretary of FO, Frédéric Souillot, referring to Macron's refusal to even receive them.
That is why Souillot has advocated the "blockade of the economy" if the president continues to turn a deaf ear to the demands of the demonstrations.
There have also been protests in Toulouse, with 10,000 attendees according to the Prefecture --45,000 according to the organizers--; Saint-Etienne, with 2,350 and 8,000 attendees and Strasbourg, with 1,300 and 5,000 demonstrators. There have also been demonstrations in Tarbes (2,500 and 6,000), Roanne (2,000 and 4,000), Arras (1,400 and 2,000) and Montauban (1,000 and 5,000).
Meanwhile, the strikes against the pension reform continue. This same Saturday, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) has asked airlines to cancel 20 percent of their flights scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at various airports, including Paris-Orly, due to the air traffic controllers strike .
"By March 11, air traffic will be interrupted at the Paris-Orly, Marseille, Toulouse, Nantes and Bordeaux airports," the DGAC reported last Thursday. On Sunday only the airports of Orly, Marseille and Toulouse will be affected.
The Government's plan, which is currently in the process of being processed by Parliament, proposes raising the official retirement age from 62 to 64 years, extending the years of contribution necessary to receive the maximum pension and eliminating the specific regimes that exist today for certain sectors.