(Paris) Blocked railways, disrupted traffic, strikes: the unions are counting on a strong mobilization Thursday in France, after the forceps adoption of the pension reform and the day after an intervention by President Emmanuel Macron who pissed off his opponents.

This is the first day of national action since the government had this flagship reform of Macron’s second five-year term adopted without a vote. Although constitutional, the method has rekindled anger and radicalized the protest, which is expressed every evening in spontaneous and often tense demonstrations.

Thursday, rail transport and in the Paris metro were to be very disrupted, the unions having called for “ a black day ” in the sector.

At Nanterre station, in the Paris region, Bébélle Iyaba, 38, a cleaning lady, is not going to demonstrate because she “works very early” and feels “too tired” when she returns. “ But I understand the strikers, I am not at all angry with them. 64 is very late,” she told AFP.

The reform provides for the raising of the legal retirement age from 62 to 64, a measure that crystallizes anger.

France is one of the European countries where this legal age is the lowest, without the systems being completely comparable.

In Quimper (west), demonstrators blocked access to the station and occupied the tracks. Protesters block bus depots in Rennes, Saint-Brieuc and Évreux (west).

The supply of kerosene to the Paris region and its airports from Normandy (west) “ is becoming critical ” due to strikes in refineries, the Ministry of Energy Transition told AFP on Thursday, ready to requisition strikers .

The government has already “ issued a requisition order ” with regard to the strikers at the TotalEnergies refinery in Normandy, which was shut down last weekend and where fuel shipments are blocked.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) has asked airlines for Thursday and Friday to cancel 30% of their flights at Paris-Orly and 20% at other airports.

And the ports of Marseille-Fos (south) and Brest (west) were totally blocked on Wednesday at the call of the powerful CGT union.

This ninth national day of mobilization since January 19 comes the day after a television interview with the Head of State, who remained inflexible, insisting that the reform should be applied “ before the end of the year ”, and assuming his “ unpopularity ”.

He invoked the defense of “ the general interest ” in the face of the financial deterioration of pension funds and the aging of the population.

Opponents of this reform consider it “unfair”, especially for women and employees in arduous jobs.

In his interview, the president accused the unions of not having been able to offer a “compromise”.

These remarks have “ no doubt reinforced the determination for the demonstrations today, which I hope will be numerous, peaceful and responsible”, retorted the boss of the reformist union CFDT Laurent Berger, considering that we were not renewing the dialogue “ by putting a slap to someone”.

The unions denounced in unison the “ contempt ” and the “ denial ” of the Head of State, expected Thursday afternoon in Brussels for a European Council.

The police have indicated that they expect “between 600,000 and 800,000 people” in the country, including 40,000 to 70,000 in Paris, where they expect hundreds of radical or potentially violent elements, as well as in a dozen provincial towns , “ultra-left” activists.

The Ministry of National Education reported a rate of striking teachers of 21.41%, including 23.22% in primary and 19.61% in secondary (colleges and high schools), the unions in the sector claiming nearly double.

Dozens of high schools and universities were blocked Thursday morning: in Paris, the University of Assas, for the first time since the beginning of the movement, the prestigious Lycée Louis-le-Grand. Ditto for several establishments in Marseille, Toulouse and Rennes.

Will Thursday’s mobilization be a final last stand? According to a source close to the government, the executive hopes that the protest will then “wither away” and that everything will be back to normal “this weekend”.

But the inter-union does not disarm: it will meet Thursday evening at the headquarters of the CFDT in Paris.