On Thursday, 457 French citizens were arrested in Paris during demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron’s approval of his pension reform bill by decree.
Macron Throws Gasoline on the Fire, French Workers' Leader Says
Some of these citizens burned about 1,000 garbage containers, which became a symbol of these protests after garbage collectors went on strike for several weeks. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, however, stressed that most demonstrators did not use violence and thanked trade unions for organizing the protests so well.
On Thursday, about 3,5 million citizens took to the streets of some 300 cities to reject the pension reform bill. The strikes caused disruptions to public transport and the closure of schools and universities.
The French government postponed the official visit of U.K. King Charles, who was going to travel to France on Sunday. "It would not be serious receiving such a visitor amid protests," Macron stated, hoping that more demonstrations do not occur.
French unions called citizens to participate in a new mass demonstration on Monday. “We need to show our determination to achieve the withdrawal of the reform," they said.
A poll conducted by the French Public Opinion Institute (FIFG) showed that almost 70 percent of French citizens reject Macron’s pension reform proposal, which intends to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030 and bring forward to 2027 the requirement to contribute 43 years to obtain a full pension.
In Athens, hundreds of Greek citizens gathered outside the French embassy to express their solidarity with the workers in France.
Demonstrators shouted slogans and carried banners reading: "Macron, your democracy hangs by nine votes" and "From Greece: victory for the workers of France."