Pension reform: a 14th day of unmotivating demonstrations in France

Pension reform: a 14th day of protests with little mobilization in France


After five months of demonstrations against the pension reform, the unions foresee the end of the “match” with a participation at its lowest for their 14th day of mobilization, two days before the examination in the Assembly of a repeal law which has little chance of succeeding.

The start did not take place for what could be the last day of action at the initiative of the inter-union. The Ministry of the Interior counted 281,000 demonstrators in France, and the CGT “more than 900,000”, the lowest figures since the start of the movement on January 19.

In Paris, the prefecture announced 31,000 participants (less than the 37,000 of March 15 and February 16), and the CGT 300,000 participants, a floor already reached twice during the winter. In the provinces, too, the figures often fell below the lowest levels previously recorded: 8,000 to 50,000 demonstrators in Toulouse, between 5,500 and 10,000 in Rennes, or even 5,000 to 10,000 in Grenoble.

“The match is ending, whether we like it or not, with this unknown of what will happen Thursday at the Assembly”, admitted Tuesday Laurent Berger. The number one of the CFDT called on the unions to “weigh in the balance of power to come” on other subjects such as wages or working conditions.

“We want real negotiations,” warned alongside him the number one of the CGT, Sophie Binet. Stressing that “retirements will always remain a struggle”, she highlighted the objective of “winning concrete progress”. “The inter-union will remain united,” she added, judging “probable that there will be other demonstrations in view of the anger in the country”.

< p>An anger that “this movement has made it possible to express”, confirmed in Lille Michel Moulbach, a 60-year-old construction worker. But “you have to be realistic”, added this CGT activist, with the approach of the holidays “it will be difficult not to take a break”.

Apart from a few punch actions – intrusion into the headquarters of the Olympic Games-2024 organizing committee, power cut in the Paris suburbs – the disturbances remained limited, especially in education with barely more than 5% of striking teachers according to the ministry.

In transport, the SNCF ran nine out of ten trains on average, while a third of flights were canceled at Orly airport.

Beauvau had deployed 11,000 police and gendarmes to supervise the crowds, including 4,000 in the capital.

The processions were marred by clashes between demonstrators and the police, particularly in Lyon, Toulouse, Nantes and Rennes, but rather less than in recent demonstrations. In Paris, a CRS was injured, and street furniture damaged, and the prefecture had made 28 arrests at 6:45 p.m.

The Paris parade, however, passed without a clash in front of the National Assembly, the demonstrators doubling their boos and sticking to the ground, in capital letters: “Here lies democracy”. A sign of their disillusion after the “forced passages” of the executive in Parliament, despite the attempt to repeal the oppositions.

The presidential camp intends to continue to move forward, as evidenced by the publication on Sunday in the Official Journal of the first two implementing decrees, including the one gradually raising the legal retirement age to 64.

“Huge anomaly”

Thursday, the President of the Assembly, Yaël Braun-Pivet, should draw article 40 of the Constitution – which prohibits parliamentarians from tabling amendments having a financial impact – to block the text tabled by the Liot group .

In unison with the left and the Liot deputies, Sophie Binet pleaded that it is “essential to let Parliament vote” at the risk of a “huge democratic anomaly”. But for Laurent Berger, “it's not off to a good start”.

“The game is over”, estimated the head of senators LR Bruno Retailleau on Sud Radio.

Jean -Luc Mélenchon (LFI) promised on Tuesday that “the fight will continue (it)” against the reform even if he admitted not knowing “in what form”.

The debate must be held “within a democratic framework and respect for the Constitution”, for his part affirmed Monday the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron. “The announcements will come in due time,” he said on Tuesday on the sidelines of the D-Day commemorations.

The government plans to hold a multilateral meeting in mid-June, either at Matignon or at the Élysée, with unions and employers.

A prospect that does not delight the union leaders, who should meet by video next Tuesday. Frédéric Souillot (FO) has already made it known that he “would not go”, while François Hommeril (CFE-CGC) does “not want to go to a communication operation”.