(Paris) After the activation of 49.3 and before the debate on the motions of censure against the government, the opponents of the pension reform take advantage of the weekend to express their anger, through several rallies in the regions as well as in Paris, theater of tensions at the end of the day for the third consecutive evening.
Preventively, the Place de la Concorde – located near the National Assembly and less than a kilometer from the Elysée – had been prohibited to demonstrators and placed in the afternoon under very high surveillance, after having been in the center disturbances Thursday evening and Friday evening. Hundreds of police were deployed there, carrying out numerous searches and identity checks, according to AFP journalists.
Thousands of demonstrators – 4,000 according to the police – however marched in the south of the capital, around the Place d’Italie, such as Ms. German (who did not wish to give her first name), a technician at Public Health France aged 55 years old, saying she was “work-worn”.
Barricades, fires from garbage cans and bus shelters, throwing projectiles: clashes with the police finally broke out in the evening on the sidelines of this demonstration and 81 people were arrested in and around Place d’Italie.
In the regions, from large cities to medium-sized towns, similar gatherings took place: Amiens, Caen, Saint-Étienne, Roanne, Besançon, Dijon, Grenoble, Gap, Annecy, Lodève, etc.
“The Assembly needs to have a sounding board in the street”, assured Lille a 29-year-old demonstrator, Léa, “angry” at a government “deaf to all mobilization”. “We need to be there to show that we are in deep disagreement with this structuring reform which affects everyone”, added this project manager in the agricultural association.
In Nantes, the procession counted 6,000 participants according to the police, 15,000 according to the unions. The police, targets of bottle throwing, responded with tear gas fire while trash cans were set on fire on the tram tracks.
Incidents also broke out in Lyon where 400 to 500 young people, gathered at the call of the ultra left, came under tear gas as they tried to seize construction equipment, AFP noted. Seven arrests took place in the middle of the evening.
In Bordeaux, the demonstrators were 1,900 people according to the prefecture and, in Brest, between 5,000 and 8,000.
“What do we have left except to continue to demonstrate? “, questioned in Marseille Romain Morizot, 33 years old. “We only have mobilization, peaceful until 49.3. But now it will potentially put social tension everywhere, “commented this telecom engineer in aviation.
Thursday, shortly after Elisabeth Borne’s recourse to article 49 paragraph 3 of the Constitution, which allows the adoption of a text without a vote, except for a motion of censure, the inter-union had called for rallies this weekend. And to a 9th day of strikes and demonstrations on March 23.
“The President of the Republic is obviously following the evolution of the situation” on the ground, Emmanuel Macron’s entourage told AFP.
On the strike side, the shutdown of the largest refinery in the country, the Normandy refinery (TotalEnergies), in Seine-Maritime, began Friday evening, told AFP Alexis Antonioli, CGT manager. This operation will take several days and should not cause immediate fuel shortages at gas stations across the country.
Until now, the strikers had been content to block fuel shipments, but the refineries continued to produce.
Industry Minister Roland Lescure hinted on Saturday that the government would make requisitions in the event of a shutdown. “We showed in the fall that we knew how to take our responsibilities there again, we will take them”, in reference to the requisitions then taken to unblock oil sites during strikes for wages, he declared on France Info .
Such measures are “being rolled out” with Paris garbage collectors, he added. The town hall, which had estimated the amount of uncollected waste at 10,000 tonnes on Friday, spoke on Saturday of “a stabilization” of this volume.
According to the prefecture, “five dump truck garages have resumed activity” and “two treatment concession companies as well as several agents (have) been required since “Friday.
The motions of censure will be debated and put to the vote in the National Assembly on Monday from 4 p.m., a conference of presidents of the institution to give shortly before its final green light to the process, we learned from parliamentary sources. .
The motion tabled by the small group Libertés, Indépendants Outre-mer et Territoires (Liot) is “transpartisan” and co-signed by elected officials from Nupes.
The latter is more likely to be voted by right-wing deputies unfavorable to pension reform than that of the National Rally (RN). But the absolute majority bar to bring down the government seems difficult to achieve.