France protests against retirement age: pushed from 62 to 64

The people of France are protesting against a proposal raised by the government to raise the retirement age. It was seen that there were massive crowds that marched through the cities to condemn a reform that would raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 years. This poses a test of President Emmanuel Macron’s ability to push through his policies. 

This is the second time the people of France have protested. The anti-government procession was just as big as on the first day of action. According to sources, the number of marchers would be more than 1.12 million which is what was recorded 12 days ago. Eight key unions took part in the strike. This disrupted schools, public transport, and refineries. 

The first round of strikes and protests that took place on January 19 had approximately 1 million to 2 million demonstrators. This included tens of thousands in Paris. 11,000 officers have been mobilized to handle the protests. Lawmakers begin locking horns in parliament over the reform bill. Hence, hardening positions on both sides.  The reform was described as “essential” by Macron. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, made it clear that raising the retirement age to 64 would no longer be negotiable. However, the opinion polls showed a majority of the French oppose the reform.

As of now, it is unclear whether the protesters can force President Macron to back down from the bill. The government may have to bear any number of days of action similar to the previous ones. This is acceptable as long as they take place along the predictable and orderly lines that they have so far. As there is no majority in the parliament, the government will have no other option but to rely on the right-wing Republicans for support as much as the ruling parties’ own MPs

The protest took place in the Place d’Italie in central Paris. Hours before the protest thousands of marchers turned out in Toulouse, Marseille, and Nice in the south, Nazaire, and Saint. While Rennes and Nantes are in the west. 

The protestors mentioned how the government’s plans hurt women far more than men. The situation was such that many of them already had broken careers due to the pandemic and would now have to work longer than men to receive their entire pension.  Transport had been disrupted severely as three-quarters of trains outside of Paris had been canceled and there were only two driverless metro lines. These were the only two lines that were operating normally in Paris. 

The number of public sector workers on strike was said to be lower on Tuesday than on 19th January. This was probably a sign of fear of lost wages. According to sources many French people felt that working had become a lot more painful. It is not that they didn't want to work but working under so many conditions was making it difficult for them. If the economy would start hurting things would have to change. The same applies if the protests turn violent, things would have to change.