(Paris) At the start of a tenth day of demonstrations in France on Tuesday against the pension reform, the government and the unions warn of a risk of “chaos” and it is against the backdrop of a deleterious and violent climate that Emmanuel Macron will receive the heavyweights of the majority on Monday.
A short respite, after several tense nights. The protest against the pension reform continued in several cities on Saturday, with processions bringing together a few hundred people before another big day of mobilization on Tuesday.
The last, Thursday, had mobilized between some 1 and 3.5 million people, according to sources, during several demonstrations interspersed with numerous incidents: police station attacked in Lorient (west), porch of the town hall burned down in Bordeaux (south-west), clashes and numerous outbreaks of fires in Paris.
In addition to the radical demonstrators, the accusations of violence also target the police to such an extent that the Council of Europe has expressed alarm at “excessive use of force”.
Beyond the mobilization against the pension reform, that of environmental organizations against the construction of mega-water reserves in the center west, in Sainte-Soline, turned into a nightmare on Saturday. Violent clashes pitted a group of demonstrators against the police, leaving at least three seriously injured, including one person between life and death.
It is in this heavy atmosphere, two months after the start of the mobilization against the pension reform, adopted without a vote in Parliament, that France awaits its 10th day of mobilizations.
On Monday, President Emmanuel Macron, who said he was ready to discuss with the intersyndicale any subject other than his reform, will receive Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne and the executives of his majority – party leaders, ministers, parliamentarians – at the ‘Elysium.
Faced with this general hardening, the power blames some of its opponents.
“Emmanuel Macron takes a malicious pleasure in this disorder and this chaos”, lamented Sunday the president of the National Assembly, Jordan Bardella.
“Those who protest are angry, we need to hear them,” says government spokesman Olivier Véran, but they have nothing to do with “the rebels who come to sow chaos in the country”.
Argument returned by the secretary general of the reformist union CFDT, Laurent Berger, who considers “absurd to risk sinking France into chaos”.