March 25, 2023

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Struggle in France | Emmanuel Macron | Why are the French outraged by Macron and taking to the streets again today? | the world

Massive protests in the streets, strikes and public transport stoppages and unions united in protest. On Thursday the 19th – the same scene that happened 12 days ago – is being repeated today in Paris and many other cities. : The complex situation of social discontent puts more pressure on the government He began his second term as president a year ago.

read more: Macron on the ropes: How pension reform sparked massive anger in France?

1. What is the reason for the current outrage against the French executive?

Everything revolves around the pension reform plan announced by the government. It plans to delay the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 years by 2030 and bring forward to 2027 – until 2035 – an extension to 43 years (currently 42) of the contribution period required to get a full pension.

2. Whether the disputed project is to be approved?

not yet. Although it has already been approved by the French administration, it was only processed in the Commission of the National Assembly (Parliament) on Monday the 30th and it is expected to be discussed in the full session of the Assembly on February 6th. Opponents of the plan have proposed about 7,000 amendments that will further complicate the debate.

A protester holds a sign reading “Retire before arthritis” during a protest in Lyon, southeastern France, on January 19, 2023. (Photo: AFP)

3. Why is the government proposing this reform?

This is one of the proposals Macron has talked about since his first term in office, which began in 2017, stressing the need to “stabilize the balance of the system” as life expectancy increases and birth rates rise. have decreased. In a conversation with El Comercio, Rodrigo Murillo, a Peruvian historian and political scientist based in Paris, said, “There is a consensus among circles close to the government and among senior leaders of various parties about the need for this reform. If this continues, a country will be heavily indebted with too many pensioners and not enough contributors in a second.”

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4. What was the public perception of the reform?

Public opinion is overwhelmingly against reform, as reflected in opinion polls. A new poll published in the last few hours by polling firm Elabe found that 72% of those consulted opposed the plan, up 6 points from a week ago.

French President Emmanuel Macron's government has faced unprecedented protests.  (Photo: AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron’s government has faced unprecedented protests. (Photo: AFP)

/ Ludovic Marin

5. Are there options to find a middle ground between the claims and the official position?

It’s complex. Prime Minister Elisabeth Bourne told France Info radio last Sunday that delaying the minimum retirement age was a “non-negotiable” point within the whole package. President Macron is also not much given to negotiation. A few weeks ago there was a great mobilization of the workers of the oil and petrol refineries, which practically left several French cities without fuel for 12 or 14 days, but the President did not give in, and the strike was called off.

6. Can mobilizations and strikes defeat the reform agenda?

Murillo didn’t see it as a close-up. “I still don’t see a critical link between social mobilizations and the votes needed to ratify and/or defeat this reform,” he pointed out. This is beyond the fact that left, far-right parties and some representatives of Los Republicanos (the party Macron is relying on for final approval) have voiced their disagreement over the plan.

In this file photo taken on Jan. 19, protesters gather at the Place de la République during a demonstration in Paris.  (Photo: AFP)

In this file photo taken on Jan. 19, protesters gather at the Place de la République during a demonstration in Paris. (Photo: AFP)

/ Alain Jogaard

7. Will reform inevitably be used?

Murillo did not dare to confirm it for sure: “I feel that little by little a kind of perfect storm is forming: the cost of living is increasing, petrol is already very expensive and energy as a result of the war in Ukraine. The price has also increased. All this may tire more and more French people, they take to the streets and people Going into indefinite unemployment, perhaps in that context Macron will back away from one approach or another.

8. How many people are expected to protest in the streets of France today?

It is difficult to predict, but comparison is possible. In the mobilization on Thursday 19th, 1.2 million people took to the streets, according to the police, more than 2 million people according to the Confederation of Workers (CGT) estimates. According to information leaked to the media, officials expect 1.2 to 1.5 million protesters to participate in some 240 marches organized across the country. Interior Minister Gerald Dormanin announced that 31,000 police officers and gendarmes had been deployed on Tuesday the 31st, up from 1,000 12 days earlier, with the mobilization threatening to deteriorate as there are between 300. and 500 infiltrators.

Demonstrators marched with banners and torches during a protest called by French trade unions in Nantes.  (Photo: AFP)

Demonstrators marched with banners and torches during a protest called by French trade unions in Nantes. (Photo: AFP)