Protesters march against Macron’s plan to raise pension age


PARIS (AP) – Protesters opposed to President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular plan to raise the retirement age in France marched Thursday in cities and towns around France in a final show of anger before a decision on whether the measure meets constitutional standards.

Hours before the Paris march got underway, protesters piled bags of garbage in front of the Constitutional Council, which is expected to decide Friday whether to nix any or all parts of the legislation.

The trash piles were cleaned up but signaled the start of a new strike by garbage collectors that was timed to start with Thursday’s nationwide protests marches. A previous strike last month left the streets of the French capital filled with mounds of reeking refuse.

“The mobilization is far from over,” the leader of the CGT union, Sophie Binet, said at a trash incineration site south of Paris where several hundred protesters blocked garbage trucks. “As long as this reform isn’t withdrawn, the mobilization will continue in one form or another.”

CGT has been a backbone of the protest and strike movement challenging Macron’s plan to increase France’s retirement age from 62 to 64. Eight unions have organized protests since January in a rare voice of unity. Student unions have joined in.

Unions hoped for a strong turnout Thursday to pressure both the government and the members of the Constitutional Council tasked with studying the text of the pension reform plan. Opponents challenged the government’s choice to include the pension plan in a budget bill, which significantly accelerated the legislative process.

Protests and labor strikes sometimes hobble public transportation in Paris, but Metro trains were mostly running smoothly Thursday. The civil aviation authority asked airports in Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes to reduce air traffic by 20%.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the French government at https://apnews.com/hub/france-government


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