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15 Apr 2023
Peter Caddle

NextImg:France Burns: Macron Signs Pension Reform into Law as Paris Riots

French President Emmanuel Macron has signed his pension reform bill into law after riots once again broke out on the streets of Paris.

Controversial pension reforms drawn up by the French government have finally been signed into law by President Emmanuel Macron, despite riots breaking out in Paris and beyond on Thursday and Friday.

Protesters had been hoping that the country’s Constitutional Court would shoot the legislation down or force it to go to referendum, with many arguing that the nature of the bill breached the French constitution.

However, according to a report by Le Figaro, the legal body ruled that the vast majority of points contained in the law were indeed constitutional.

Judges instead only struck out a few far less controversial elements of the bill, some of which were even added in a desperate attempt to place the country’s opposition.

The Parisian public responded to the news with spontaneous protests, some of which reportedly devolved into rioting, with over 100 people being arrested by police in relation to unrest in the city.

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Seemingly unperturbed by the violence, Marcon quickly proceeded to make the bill official, signing the reforms into law early on Saturday morning.

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Despite the reforms now officially being the law of the land in France, trade unions in the country have vowed to keep opposing the legislation, seemingly convinced that they can still push for the changes to be withdrawn.

“It’s not over,” one of the major unions involved in the regular mass protests declared, the organisation claiming that pulling the legislation would be the only way for the government to “calm the anger” in France.

Such anger was perfectly visible on the streets of Paris on Friday, with protesters clashing with police and setting bins on fire in response to the Constitutional Court ruling the legislation to be compatible with French law.

Demonstrations against the decision also reportedly took place in Marseille, Lyon, Nantes, Rennes, Lille, Dijon, Caen, and Strasbourg.

The actions of protesters in Rennes drew particular ire, with footage emerging appearing to show a number of individuals piling up bins in front of an entrance to a historic monastery in the city, before setting them on fire.

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“The degradations and attacks this evening in Rennes, against a police station and the Couvent des Jacobins (monastery), by thugs determined to fight it out are unacceptable,” French Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin wrote online, expressing full support for the French police.

However, French law enforcement agencies also faced critisisms on Saturday morning, with multiple videos emerging online appearing to show officers trying to blind journalists with high-powered flashlights.

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“Police officers dazzling several journalists for long minutes to disrupt the recording of images,” one journalist wrote online, adding such skullduggery from law enforcement against reporters in the country “often happens”.