(Paris) Two motions of censure were tabled Friday against the French government, plunged into a political crisis after its passage in force on the pension reform, which amplified social anger and triggered scuffles in the middle of Paris.
Several thousand people gathered in the evening at Place de la Concorde, a few hundred meters from the National Assembly.
A blaze was lit by demonstrators, and the mood grew tense as night fell, with police charging into the crowd, according to AFP journalists.
Several hundred people confronted the police in small groups, with bottle throwing and fireworks, while the police responded with tear gas, trying to evacuate the place, in the rain.
There were 12 arrests around 9 p.m. (4 p.m. Eastern time), according to the police headquarters.
In Strasbourg (East), it was on Place Kléber that 1,600 protesters met. “We too will go through in force,” chanted the demonstrators.
A thousand people marched in the center of Lille (North), and a procession of a few hundred dispersed smoothly in Bordeaux (South-West).
Motions of no confidence are expected to be considered in the National Assembly on Monday from 4 p.m. (11 a.m. Eastern Time), parliamentary sources told AFP, subject to validation just before the session.
The deputies of the centrist independent parliamentary group LIOT announced to the Assembly the tabling of a “transpartisan” motion of censure of the government, co-signed by elected representatives of the NUPES (radical left).
The far-right National Rally also filed a motion of censure on Friday, criticizing an “unfair and unnecessary reform”.
These steps are responses to President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to resort to the weapon of Article 49.3 of the Constitution on Thursday, allowing the adoption of a text without a vote in the Assembly, unless a motion of censure comes. to overthrow the government.
This choice on this very unpopular pension reform, against which many French people have mobilized since January 19, “is the apogee of a denial of democracy unacceptable in its constancy and its contempt for our institutions and our social bodies” , is it in particular written in the text of the motion of LIOT.
On Friday, the general secretary of the reformist union CFDT, Laurent Berger, called on the French president to “withdraw the reform” from pensions.
“Putting out the fire is not about changing the prime minister or changing the government, it’s about withdrawing the reform,” Berger told reporters.
The censure motion tabled by the LIOT parliamentary group is the one that could potentially cause the most problems for the government because of its transpartisan side.
To bring down the government, a motion of censure must obtain an absolute majority in the Assembly, or 287 votes. This would require in particular that around thirty right-wing deputies Les Républicains (out of 61) vote for the motion of the LIOT group.
The French government has chosen to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 in response to the financial deterioration of pension funds and the aging of the population.
France is one of the European countries where the legal retirement age is the lowest, without the pension systems being completely comparable.
This measure of the postponement of the legal retirement age crystallizes the anger, against the backdrop of renewable strikes.
The various opinion polls show that the French are mostly hostile to it, even if the number of demonstrators in the streets and of strikers has stagnated or declined over time.
“Pension crisis: his fault”, headlined the newspaper Liberation (left) next to a portrait of Emmanuel Macron.
The intersyndicale called for “proximity union rallies this weekend” and a ninth “big day of strikes and demonstrations on Thursday, March 23”.
A thorny consequence of the renewable strikes among garbage collectors – who underline the arduous nature of their work – the health situation in Paris, the world capital of tourism, is getting worse: the bar of 10,000 tonnes of uncollected waste was reached on Friday in mid- day, according to the estimate of the town hall, to the 12th day of strike.
Regarding the state of rail traffic, the four representative unions of the national company SNCF called on Friday to “maintain the strike” started on March 7 and “to act massively on March 23” to oppose the pension reform .
The General Directorate of Civil Aviation asked airlines to cancel Monday 30% of their flights at Paris-Orly and 20% at Marseille-Provence (South-East), due to the strike movement of air traffic controllers against the pension reform.