France: Protests Intensify; garbage keeps piling up

Protests were held in Paris and other French cities on Saturday against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise France’s retirement age from 62 to 64, as uncollected rubbish stinks on the streets of the country’s capital in through a strike by sanitation workers.

In several cities, including Nantes and Marseille, mostly non-violent protests took place, where demonstrators outmaneuvered police to paralyze the main train station for around 15 minutes. In Besancon, a city in eastern France, hundreds of protesters lit a brazier and burned voting cards.

In Paris, the police tried to restore calm after two consecutive nights of riots. Police have banned gatherings on the Champs-Elysees avenue and the elegant Place de la Concorde, where protesters threw an effigy of Macron into a bonfire as crowds cheered on Friday night.


Thousands of protesters gathered in a public square in southern Paris, the Place d’Italia, on Saturday night before marching on Europe’s largest waste incineration plant, which has become a flashpoint. Some set garbage containers on fire and the protesters launched slogans such as “the streets are ours”.

The protesters are trying to pressure lawmakers to overthrow the Macron government and condemn the unpopular increase in the retirement age that they are trying to impose without putting the proposal to a vote in the National Assembly.

After Macron ordered Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to invoke special constitutional power to bypass a vote in the chaotic lower house, lawmakers on the right and left filed no-confidence motions against his cabinet on Friday. The motions are expected to be voted on Monday.

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