Thousands of people protested against the pension reform in different cities in France. Clashes with police and acts of vandalism have been reported.
Paris police on Saturday, 18 March, banned gatherings in the Place de la Concorde and the Champs Elysees, where demonstrators clashed with police in the previous days. The authorities explained their decision by “serious risks of disturbing public order,” AFP reports.
At the same time, thousands of people marched in cities across the country at the call of regional trade unions to continue demonstrations.
“We are fed up. We feel like we’ve been trampled on, and no one is listening to us,” AFP quoted one of the protesters in the small town of Lodev as saying.
In Paris, according to Le Monde, the rally gathered about four thousand protesters at the Place de l’Italie. Some of them were chanting, demanding the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron, Reuters reports.
Arrests in Paris
Demonstrators also resorted to acts of vandalism in Paris: they set fire to garbage cans, and smashed billboards and bus stops, Le Monde writes concerning AP. Rescuers even had to extinguish a fire caused by the arson of electric bicycles. The protesters used fences from construction sites to block the streets. The police intervened and fired tear gas, said a Le Monde journalist who was at the scene. According to the newspaper, 76 people were arrested.
At the same time, according to Le Monde, about 500 people gathered in Lyon to protest. It also reported clashes with police and the dispersal of the demonstration with tear gas.