New Telegraph

French Unions Set New Protest Date After Arrest

A day after hundreds of thousands protested the bill, the French trade unions on Tuesday announced that they will organize further large-scale rallies against President Emmanuel Macron’s divisive pension reforms next month.

The fourteenth day of demonstrations will take place on June 6, according to the unions, days before parliamentarians discuss a bill that would overturn the retirement rules that Macron’s ministers pushed through without a vote.

On Monday, the holiday associated with Labour Day, police reported that about 800,000 people protested the pension change throughout France, compared to 2.3 million for the hard-left CGT union.

The unions said that while they would attend new discussions with cabinet ministers on issues ranging from boosting employment among older people to reforming vocational schools, they would “reiterate their refusal of the pensions reform”.

“There is deep defiance and dialogue can only resume if the government shows it is finally willing to take the unions’ positions into account,” they added.

Nationwide 540 people were arrested during Monday’s demonstrations, including 305 in Paris, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

The capital had seen “a level of violence in the vanguard of the march… that far exceeded” previous demonstrations, Paris police chief Laurent Nunez told broadcaster France Info, blaming “hooligans”.

Darmanin said three officers were “in an extremely difficult situation” although not fighting for their lives.

One police officer was hospitalized with facial injuries after being hit by a Molotov cocktail.

At least two journalists, including an AFP photographer, claimed to have been hit without suffering significant injuries even though there was no official count of the number of protesters harmed when police fired tear gas, riot grenades, and other weapons.

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