French protesters occupy Black Rock’s Al Shula Restaurant


April 6, 2023 | 2:14 p.m

A contemporary wave of unrest over pension reform swept Paris and different French cities on Thursday, as indignant demonstrators occupied the constructing of US-based funding agency BlackRock and set hearth to a preferred restaurant favored by President Emmanuel Macron.

Dozens of commerce union members poured into BlackRock’s Paris workplaces within the historic central constructing, setting off fireworks and chanting slogans directed on the firm’s pension fund.

“The federal government desires to do away with pensions, it desires to pressure folks to finance their retirement from non-public pension funds, however what we all know is that solely the wealthy can profit from such a setup,” mentioned protester Françoise Onique. College trainer.

BlackRock’s non permanent occupation got here on the eleventh day of nationwide strikes and demonstrations denouncing Macron’s plan to lift the retirement age from 62 to 64 in an obvious effort to stop France’s retirement system from collapsing.

Loudly chanting the favourite slogan of French anti-pension reform protesters, “On est la” (“We’re right here”), the demonstrators withdrew from the BlackRock constructing after about half-hour, leaving its foyer full of smoke from pyrotechnics.

Riot police throughout France resorted to utilizing tear gasoline to disperse protesters within the eleventh day of unrest.
A minimum of 20 demonstrators had been arrested in Paris on Thursday after clashes with policemen.

One other monetary establishment that angered the protesters was a department of the Credit score Agricole financial institution, which noticed its home windows smashed earlier than police dispersed the mob’s trousers with tear gasoline.

Elsewhere within the French capital, protesters vented their anger on the Left Financial institution brasserie La Rotonde, the place Macron hosted a celebratory dinner throughout the 2017 presidential election.

Protesters pelted the restaurant with stones, set its awnings on hearth, and threw bottles and paint at policemen who arrived to quell the unrest.

A riot police officer was briefly knocked unconscious by a pebble within the melee.

Protesters set hearth to the awning of the Parisian restaurant La Rotonde, which in 2017 hosted President Emmanuel Macron’s gala dinner.
Indignant activists threw stones and paint at riot police.
AFP by way of Getty Photographs
Protesters set trash cans on hearth to specific their discontent with the elevating of the nationwide retirement age from 62 to 64.

Within the western metropolis of Reims, police fired tear gasoline at demonstrators who clashed with them and set hearth to trash cans whereas chanting “Strike, blockade, Macron go!”

Police additionally responded with tear gasoline in Lyon, the place a Nespresso espresso store was ransacked.

Pension reform, which has turn out to be the main focus of Macron’s turbulent second time period, has met widespread resistance, which intensified after a retirement age hike was pushed by the French parliament with out a vote.

Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne met union leaders on Wednesday to attempt to break the deadlock, however their talks stalled after simply an hour with out discovering an answer.

Masked demonstrators carry inflatable geese throughout a protest Thursday in Rennes, France.
Demonstrators waving open umbrellas clashed with police in Nantes Thursday.
A protester shows a poster of the Basic Confederation of French Staff (CGT) and a communist face masks, participating within the eleventh Labor Day in Montpellier, France.
AFP by way of Getty Photographs

Protesters mentioned the one manner out of the disaster was to scrap the unpopular pension reform – an choice Bourne and Macron rejected.

“There isn’t a different answer than to withdraw reform,” Sophie Binet, the brand new chief of the hardline CGT union, mentioned in the beginning of the Paris rally.

Each the federal government and protesters are trying ahead to the Constituent Meeting – France’s highest constitutional authority – to ship its ruling on the pension invoice on April 14.

Constitutional specialists say the fee is unlikely to overturn the laws, which might take the wind out of the protests which have raged in France since January.

The newest knowledge means that the motion could also be shedding steam.

Macron has repeatedly dominated out reversing the deeply unpopular pension reform.
The newest figures present that fewer persons are participating in protest days nationwide than earlier than.
AFP by way of Getty Photographs
The unions mentioned they’re dedicated to persevering with the protests till the federal government critiques the course of pension reform.

The CGT union confirmed that round 400,000 folks joined the protest in Paris on Thursday, down from 450,000 the earlier week.

Throughout France, yesterday of nationwide protest on March 28 drew smaller crowds than yesterday, with 740,000 participating in strikes and rallies, in line with the inside ministry.

Once more on March 7, 1.28 million French residents took half within the protests by blocking visitors, disrupting commerce and leaving their jobs.

with wire

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