The inter-union calls for a tenth general strike for next March 28
The French Government has estimated at just over a million the demonstrators who have taken to the streets this Thursday in different French cities to protest against the approved pension reform, a figure that has been raised to 3.5 million by the Confederation General of Labor (CGT).
The Ministry of the Interior has specified that 1.09 million people have participated in the demonstrations in a great day of strike that has paralyzed the transport sector -with trains, planes and roads affected-, as well as education or health , while the strikes and blockades at refineries and garbage collectors continue.
In the capital, Paris, at least 880,000 people have taken to the streets, a figure that has been lowered to 119,000 by the Ministry of the Interior during a day in which nearly 5,000 police officers have ensured security in the city.
For now, the security forces, who have fired tear gas to disperse the crowd in different districts of the capital, have arrested 33 people, although the number is expected to grow, as reported by the newspaper ‘Le Figaro’.
The protests, which are still ongoing, are being especially tense in the Plaza de l’Opéra, where protesters have set fire to a kiosk and launched fireworks. Likewise, a group of people has robbed a BNP Paribas bank on Bulevar de los Italianos.
This scenario of a pitched battle between protesters and police has also been repeated in other French cities, such as Nantes, Bordeaux, Rennes and Lorient, where there have been looting of shops and breaking of windows in buildings.
NEW STRIKE ON TUESDAY, MARCH 28
Given the success of the call, the main French unions have decided to call a tenth day of general strike for next Tuesday, March 28, which will also be accompanied by union meetings over the weekend for its preparation.
Shortly before the march began in Paris, the general secretary of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, assured in a statement to BFMTV that the recent words of French President Emmanuel Macron — who condemned the violence in the protests, alluding to to the assaults on the institutions of the United States and Brazil– are a “provocation”.
For his part, the Secretary General of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT) has tried to ease tensions and has condemned the violence of the demonstrations, while calling for calm.
In this sense, he has been in favor of a bill that calls for a shared initiative referendum (RIP) and that was presented at the beginning of the week in the Constitutional Council. To get ahead, it will need the support of 4.87 million people, signatures that will have to be collected within nine months.