Cacerolazos in France: Protests for pensions continue

A country known for its cuisine turned to pans and saucepans to express its discontent with the pension reform of the French President Emmanuel Macron.

French demonstrations against raising the retirement age of 62 to 64 have transformed, as people went from throwing cobblestonesdodging tear gas canisters and waving flags for something closer to the soul of the gastronomic nation: making noise by banging pans.

The casserole began last week during a televised speech by Macron. Protesters gathered in about 400 places, before town halls and on the streets of cities such as Paris, Marseille, Toulouse and Strasbourg, in an effort to stifle the president’s voice.

The anti-capitalist activist group ATTC called for new cacerolazos for Monday at 8:00 p.m.

In response to the loud protests, Macron proclaimed last week during a visit to Alsace that “it is not the saucepans that will move France forward.”

However, that only fanned the flames. French cookware maker Cristel stated on Twitter that it was now making stainless steel pans specifically to “advance” the nation.

This culinary rallying cry has a centuries-old tradition in France.

During the July Monarchy of 1830, the Republicans who wanted to oust King Louis Philippe hit utensils and saucepans to express dissent against “the state apparatus,” historian Emmanuel Fureix explained to France Culture radio.

At a time when there were barely 200,000 voters in the country, the saucepan was the form of expression of those who had no voice, he added. Fureix said that the act of banging saucepans comes from the Middle Ages, from a tradition of a concert of saucepans, bells, shouts and whistles to express disapproval of a bad marriage.

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France has already drawn attention for his creative protests against pension reform.

Last week, striking energy workers hurled old gas and electricity meters in front of a regional government building, while a street artist in Paris turned dozens of uncollected rubbish bins into sculptures.

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