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  • Policemen during a demonstration against French government's pensions reform plans, as part of a day of national strike and protests, in Paris, France, December 5, 2019.

    Policemen during a demonstration against French government's pensions reform plans, as part of a day of national strike and protests, in Paris, France, December 5, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 December 2019
Opinion

Around 806,000 protesters took to the streets in nationwide protests in France on Thursday, according to the Interior Ministry.

Police fired tear gas at protesters in the center of Paris on Thursday and public transport ground to a near halt in one of the biggest strikes in France for decades, aimed at forcing President Emmanuel Macron to ditch a planned reform of pensions.

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Video captured by Reuters showed tear gas canisters and firecrackers also being thrown back towards police as a crowd of protesters passed along the street, chanting and lighting red flares.

The demonstrations taking place in some 30 French cities are part of a massive public sector strike involving railway workers, teachers and emergency room medics among others.

Several unions such as the CGT called to strike and protest to force President Emmanuel Macron to abandon plans to overhaul France's pension system.

Unions have criticized Macron for turning a deaf ear to him as he lost little time early in his presidency pushing through a labor law reform and easing taxes for investors. They are also furious that he ignored their input for a much-delayed unemployment insurance reform presented in June.

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