(Paris) Opponents of the pension reform were less numerous in the street on Tuesday, for a tenth day of action at the call of the unions who demanded a “ mediation ” rejected by the government, but supported by its Modem allies .
Five days after a burst tarnished by numerous overflows, the mobilization seemed to be marking time. The first figures from the authorities and the unions attested to a declining participation, as in Tarbes (5,000 to 15,000), Nice (3,700 to 25,000) or Clermont-Ferrand (11,000 to 40,000).
“ The movement is not running out of steam ”, however affirmed from the Auvergne city the leader of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, judging “ the determination still as important ” to demand the withdrawal of the reform and its flagship measure: the postponement legal age 62 to 64.
While the violence during the demonstrations last week, then around the basin of Saint-Soline (Deux-Sèvres) during the weekend, is still in everyone’s mind, the number one of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, proposed Tuesday on France Inter “ a way out ” through “ mediation ” to find “ a social compromise ”.
Solution immediately dismissed by the government: “ We do not necessarily need mediation to talk to each other ”, declared its spokesperson, Olivier Véran.
An “ unbearable ” response for Mr. Berger, who replied from the head of the Parisian procession: “ It will start to be enough, the ends of inadmissibility ”.
The first trade unionist in France, however, received the unexpected support of MoDem deputies, members of the presidential majority. “ It’s good to have one or two people to try to find the dialogue and have a certain perspective”, declared their leader Jean-Paul Mattei.
The situation remains deadlocked for the time being, pending the decision of the Constitutional Council, which must rule on the bill within three weeks.
“If the government wants to come out on top, it must suspend the reform. The longer he waits, the more complicated it will be”, estimated the general secretary of Force Ouvrière, Frédéric Souillot, promising in unison with the other union officials the continuation of strikes and mobilizations.
On the ground, opposition to the reform remains strong. Morning roadblocks were reported in Rennes, Caen and Lille, among others. Train traffic is also disrupted, with three out of five TGVs and one out of two TERs on average, according to the SNCF. The Eiffel Tower was also closed.
In Paris, demonstrators invaded the tracks of the Gare de Lyon at the end of the morning, causing delays. Same scene in Lorient, with the interruption of traffic between Auray and Quimper.
The situation was not improving on the fuel front, with more than 15% of petrol stations still running out of petrol or diesel. Increasingly marked shortages in the West and the South, and which also extended to Île-de-France.
On the other hand, teachers were less mobilized, with only 8% of teachers on strike according to the Ministry of National Education.
The authorities are instead scrutinizing the agitation of the youth, whose intelligence has predicted “a much larger presence” in the processions. Dozens of blockages of universities, high schools and even colleges have been identified, from Avignon to Le Havre, from Lille to Bordeaux.
The police expect a total of 650,000 to 900,000 protesters in nearly 200 cities, including 70,000 to 100,000 in Paris.
Fearing “very significant risks of disturbing public order”, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has planned an “unprecedented security system”: 13,000 police and gendarmes, including 5,500 in the capital, where “more than 1,000 radical elements” are expected.
After the clashes during the last demonstrations, then the clashes in Sainte-Soline, many are worried about the ambient “chaos”.
At the Élysée, where Emmanuel Macron received the executives of the majority and the government on Monday, the Head of State nevertheless said he wanted to “ continue to reach out to the union forces ” on other subjects, according to a participant.
The Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, insists on her desire to “ appease ”.
But the left, by the voice of several of its tenors, including the leader of the PCF Fabien Roussel, on the contrary accused Tuesday Emmanuel Macron of “ playing the rot ” of the social movement.