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PJ Media
PJ Media
18 Mar 2023
Rick Moran

NextImg:Garbage in the Streets of Paris and Riots Over Pension Reform Pose a Challenge to Macron's Authority

France is in an uproar because French workers will now have to toil an extra two years before they’re eligible for their overly-generous pension. And the change was made thanks to a rarely used article in the French Constitution — Article 49.3 — which provides that the government can pass a bill without a vote at the National Assembly, after deliberation at a Cabinet meeting.

The catch is that French President Emanuel Macron must now navigate a “no confidence” vote that will be held sometime this weekend. He is expected to weather the storm easily, but not without some damage to his standing. Macron is in the middle of his second term, and since he can’t run again, he will try to push through as much of his agenda as possible.

Meanwhile, French workers are livid over the changes. The retirement age has been raised from 62 to 64 because of overly generous governments in the past almost bankrupting the pension system. Macron’s “fix” only kicks the can down the road until the real crunch comes in a few years.


Riot police clashed with protesters on Friday evening in Paris as a demonstration took place at the capital’s Place de la Concorde, near the Assemblee Nationale parliament building, resulting in 61 arrests.

This led the Paris Prefecture on Saturday to ban rallies on Place de la Concorde and the nearby Champs-Elysees.

A further rally was however slated for later on Saturday on Place d’Italie in southern Paris.

Elsewhere in the French capital, a group of students and activists from the “Revolution Permanente” collective briefly invaded the Forum des Halles shopping mall, waving banners calling for a general strike and shouting “Paris stand up, rise up”, videos on social media showed.

BFM television also showed images of demonstrations underway in cities such as Compiegne in the north, Nantes in the west and Marseille in the south.

Despite the garbage and the smell, tourists still streamed into all the landmarks that Paris is known for. Doris Arseguel, navigating a small group of Brazilian tourists through the narrow streets of the garbage-littered 5th arrondissement, said. “It’s very difficult to show the beauty of Paris to tourists with all the garbage and barricades,” Arseguel, 53, told NBC News. “Paris’ beauty is completely covered up now. It’s become too much.”

She also warned the tourists to be careful of rats who were apparently enjoying the garbage strike.

Macron hasn’t seen this kind of challenge since his first term when in 2018, tens of thousands of protesters across the country — many of the wearing yellow vests — marched through the streets of Paris cities demanding an end to an ill-advised fuel tax. But repealing that tax didn’t stop the protests, which were really a reaction to high taxes, high cost of living, and stagnant wages.

We’ll see how Macron reacts to this challenge.

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