(Paris) Some social unrest broke out on Friday morning in different parts of France the day after the government’s forced passage on pension reform, which weakens Emmanuel Macron and reinvigorates protest, in the streets and in the National Assembly.
In Paris, some 200 demonstrators brought together by the powerful CGT union obstructed traffic on Friday morning on the Parisian boulevard, the day after an evening marred by violence. Thursday evening, a spontaneous demonstration of a few thousand people degenerated around the Place de la Concorde, not far from the National Assembly, resulting in more than 300 arrests.
Incidents also broke out in several cities in France.
In the TotalEnergies refinery in Normandy (west), the strikers will stop the installations this weekend.
“Employees have raised their voices” and “the main units will start shutting down from tomorrow” so that “normally the refinery will be shut down this weekend or Monday at the latest”, said Eric Sellini , CGT coordinator within the oil group.
Sporadic demonstrations, such as blockades of high schools and mail platforms, took place at various points in the territory, while general assemblies of certain trade union branches (energy, railway workers) are scheduled for the afternoon to try to frame the renewed mobilization caused by Thursday’s political thunderclap.
Several union officials have warned of possible “excess” or “individual actions” by rank-and-file workers.
The intersyndicale is planning “local local rallies” this weekend as well as a ninth day of strikes and demonstrations on Thursday, March 23.
In Paris, the garbage cans that are not collected by the garbage collectors on strike continue to pile up in smelly mountains and the authorities are preparing requisitions to clear some of them.
The leader of the far-left La France Insoumise party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, “encouraged” “spontaneous mobilizations throughout the country”.
Thursday’s recourse to Article 49.3 of the Constitution to adopt the pension reform project without a vote is almost unanimously considered a setback for Emmanuel Macron, who has bet a lot of his political credit on this key reform of his second five-year term.
The government of Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne is on hot coals as the oppositions will table one or more motions of censure before 10:30 a.m. (Eastern time).
One of them, tabled by a small centrist parliamentary group unknown to the general public, is the one that could potentially cause the government the most problems because of its cross-partisan side.
“We have decided to withdraw our motion of censure in favor of that of the Liot group,” said Mr. Melenchon, while the National Rally, which plans to file one as well, however warned that it would vote for all motions. .
The fate of the government, supported by a relative majority in the Assembly, could therefore be in the hands of the sixty or so deputies from the traditional right-wing group Les Républicains. If their votes are added to those of all the other opposition deputies, they will reach the absolute majority of the 577 deputies and bring down the executive.
Group boss Eric Ciotti, however, warned Thursday that they will not vote “any motion of censure”. Bringing down the government therefore seems a difficult objective for the opposition, but slingers could give the executive a cold sweat.
Motions will be voted on at least 48 hours after they are tabled, probably on Monday.
In the meantime, the ministers are standing up. “We are destined to continue to govern,” said government spokesman Olivier Véran.
For his part, the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt, who carries this text providing in particular for a two-year increase in the retirement age, from 62 to 64, refused to present the use of 49.3 as “a failure “. “There is a text and this text will, if the motion of censure is rejected, implemented,” he said.
Since January 19, hundreds of thousands of French people have demonstrated against this reform, against a 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.
The French government has chosen to raise the legal retirement age to respond to the financial deterioration of pension funds and the aging of the population. France is one of the European countries where the legal age of departure is the lowest.