13,000 police deployed as as Macron vows not to waver an unpopular pensions policy


Illustration by Aubrey Cruson

Illustration Of France Protests

President Of France, Emmanuel Macron has executively decided to pass a new pension policy that will affect all workers in France. This pension policy was discussed thoroughly throughout 2022 and overall received a negative view from the people of France. According to The New York Times, as of January this year it was passed without legislative review.

13,000 police deployed
as Macron vows
not to waver an
pensions policy

 This policy will require workers to work up until the age of 64 rather than the age of 62 to receive their retirement funds. This policy will include all French citizens including those who have already made retirement plans. The people of France have revealed how upset they are at the president for enacting this policy but they are also peeved at the use of his “Special Powers” allowing him to rush the reform past legislators. That being due to the fact that if the policy was reviewed by the French legislators then it most likely would have not been passed. According to The New York Times, it followed no support from the other legislators. With a lot of the French government reporting that, there are other ways and sources for coming up with retirement funds rather than invading upon peoples retirement plans.

Hundreds of thousands of people have crowded the streets in protest of Emmanual Macron’s use of executive powers to go through with this unpopular raise of pension age. This protest movement started as a fight against raising the pension age from 62 to 64 years but, with the anger involved this protest has become violent; disrupting rail transport, air travels and schools. According to a French social worker who was planning on retiring in three months at the age of 63, “The social state and social safety net are disappearing”. (The Nation Interview) Other labor workers are being encouraged to walk out and flood the streets of France to protest these reforms; with the hopes of disturbing France’s transportation systems so much that Macron will reconsider the pensions policy. 

80,000 people gathered in Paris and over one million across France which tops the amount of people protesting in decades. According to a visiting CNN team, they watched protesters hurl objects at police, while others lit fireworks, and started fires in garbage bins. These protestors have been blocking transportation sites, airport terminals and most tourist sites which have led these places to be temporarily closed for safety precautions. 

France’s Minister has spoken out about these protestors calling them “Troublemakers” reporting that they are not there to protest but to cause mass destruction. In his and his team’s defense they are explaining that without this pension reform the pension system will dive into a deep deficit that will not be able to recover. While being interviewed by French News, he said “They come to destroy, injure and to kill police officers and gendarmes’ ‘. Later saying, “Their goals have nothing to do with pension reform”. The people’s anger is becoming heightened by the government’s response to their actions.

 It seems that the French government doesn’t understand the true reason as to why they are mad and the people’s fear of the pension reform; that fear being that they will not be able to retire when they want to.

This Pension Reform policy started protests due to people feeling the need to advocate for their rights but, it has led to pure violence and destruction. From police brutality, transportation being closed, attractions being temporarily closed and suffocating amounts of garbage on the streets. Read more in Andrews piece; Though this isn’t the first time that this has happened in France. France has had decades full of protests and riots that have led to major chaos like this most recent event. Since 2000 France has experienced 17 different protests/strikes that have led to pure violence and destruction according to France24 Though what makes this most recent protest stand out is, its purely government caused and has turned into a protest against police.

The last protest that resulted in backfire against the French Police Force was in 2017. When, riots in Paris began after police claimed that the anal violation of a black man with a baton was an accident, not a rape. After this event, thousands marched to protest against police brutality; some burning cars and smashing bus shelters. Another incident was in 2013 when a man attacked a police officer after the officer tried checking the identity of the man’s wife who was wearing a muslim veil. This event also caused rioting and the local police station being under attack. 

As of the latest news from France being released, the Pension reform is still in place and the riots are only growing stronger throughout France. With riots and protests being so powerful, French businesses and attractions, including transportation will remain closed.