Authorities have banned protests near parliament after riots in the French capital.
Scores of people were arrested across the country on Saturday night during protests against the French government’s pension reform. Violent riots broke out in Paris and Lyon. After this the police restricted the right to protest. After two nights of unrest, demonstrations were banned in a Paris square opposite Parliament. This was reported by AFP news agency in the afternoon.
The riots were sparked by a government decision to push through a controversial pension reform without a vote in the lower house.
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French Industry Minister Roland Lescoeur later told radio station France Info on Saturday: “There is no doubt that the violence will lead to a pushback on important reforms.” People also took to the streets in Strasbourg, Rennes, Nantes and Rouen.
Police use water cannons and tear gas shells against the protesters
In Lyon, according to media reports, demonstrators stormed the mayor’s office and set fire to the entrance, arresting 36 people. In Paris, police arrested 61 people during riots in the central Place de la Concorde. Security forces fired water cannons and teargas shells at the protesters who pelted stones, hurled firecrackers and set things on fire.
Already on Thursday, there were violent riots in the square near the Parliament building. As French news agency AFP wrote on Twitter on Saturday, Paris province banned gatherings on the Place de la Concorde and nearby Champs-Élysées after the riots.
#Update French police on Saturday banned demonstrations in a Paris square opposite parliament after two nights of unrest to protest the government’s imposition of pension reforms without a vote in the lower house. pic.twitter.com/VVyUrQTuXv
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) March 18, 2023
Raising the retirement age has sparked protests
The French government decided on Thursday to pass the controversial reform with the help of special Article 49.3 without a vote in the National Assembly. He feared that not enough MEPs would agree to reform. It allows for raising the retirement age from 62 to 64.
In protest, restrictions were imposed on French railways at weekends. Trains were canceled on the entire route network, SNCF announced. Unions called for action on Saturday and Sunday. A big day of strikes and demonstrations is planned for next Thursday. Unions have been fighting the reform for weeks with strikes and demonstrations.
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