(Paris) Ultimate show of force by opponents of the pension reform before the verdict of the Constitutional Council: hundreds of thousands of people are expected in the processions of France on Thursday at the call of the inter-union, always united.
After almost three months, the mobilization should remain substantial, although in decline compared to the last day of action, a week ago.
Authorities expect between 400 and 600,000 people on the streets, compared with the 570,000 recorded on April 6 and 740,000 on March 28.
The crowds were already lower in Toulouse, where the police counted 9,000 participants and the CGT 70,000, the lowest figures since March 11, the low point of the social movement started in mid-January.
Véronique Goutagny, 60, a stopover agent at Air France who has been to all the parades in the Pink City, still hopes “to make the government bend” but has few illusions about the crucial decision of the Constitutional Council: ” Given its composition, there is nothing at all to expect”.
The object of all attention, the institution housed in the Royal Palace, in the heart of the capital, is under close surveillance. Thursday morning, a brief blocking attempt, with trash cans and smoke bombs, resulted in four arrests.
Located on the route of the Parisian procession-which must connect from 2 p.m. the Place de l’Opéra to that of the Bastille-the place and its surroundings will be prohibited to any demonstration from Thursday evening and until Saturday morning, said know the prefect of police.
“ The Constitutional Council has a right to serenity ”, justified government spokesman Olivier Véran.
The strikes cause some transport disruptions, with 3 out of 5 TER and 4 out of 5 TGVs in circulation, and slightly disrupted metro and RER traffic in the Paris region.
In the air, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) has asked airlines to give up 20% of their flights to Nantes, Bordeaux and Toulouse.
And in schools, the Ministry of National Education counted around 5% of striking teachers at midday, in regions not yet on vacation.
As during previous days of mobilization, blockades of high schools and universities were reported in several cities, including Lille, Paris and Strasbourg.
In energy, the entrance to the Feyzin refinery, near Lyon, was blocked for two hours. A filter dam has also been set up at the Gravelines nuclear power plant.
Road blockages also took place in the morning around several western towns, including Caen, Brest and Rennes.
On the waste side, the CGT announced in Paris an “act 2” of the mobilization of garbage collectors with a new call for a strike renewable from Thursday. Garbage collectors in Paris had not picked up trash for three weeks in March.
Access to the Saint-Ouen incinerator (Seine–Saint-Denis) was disrupted by a filter dam and that of Ivry-sur-Seine (Val-de-Marne) was the scene of a blockage, to which s At the start of the day, the general secretary of the CGT, Sophie Binet, was joined. “This is not the last day of mobilization, we will see each other again a lot,” she said.
Other punchy actions took place, including a brief occupation of the headquarters of the luxury giant LVMH, in the Champs-Élysées district.
The tension thus remains palpable with the approach of the decision of the Constitutional Council, expected Friday at the end of the day.
It seems unlikely that the Elders will undo the entire reform. But they could prune the text and strengthen the arguments of the intersyndicale in favor of a suspension or a withdrawal.
From Amsterdam, where he was visiting, Emmanuel Macron promised the unions on Wednesday, “ in a spirit of harmony ”, an “exchange which will make it possible to initiate the follow-up and to take into account” the Council’s verdict.
The secretary general of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, suggests that in the event of partial censorship, the head of state uses article 10 of the Constitution to allow a new deliberation to be proposed to Parliament.
A possible validation by the Constitutional Council of the popular initiative referendum launched by the left could also give opponents a new objective.
In such a scenario, “ we can engage in a campaign, continue the mobilization in appropriate forms ”, explained Benoît Teste (FSU) on Wednesday.
Among the hypotheses considered for the future by the unions, unit parades on May 1, or even a large demonstration in Paris.
They must meet Thursday evening, according to concordant sources, to prepare their reaction to the decisions of the Constitutional Council.