The organizers spoke of 150,000 participants, the police of 12,000. The government wants to gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 years
In Paris, several thousand people took to the streets again on Saturday against the planned pension reform. A dozen youth organizations and France’s left-wing LFI had called for protests against raising the retirement age. The organizers spoke of 150,000 demonstrators, according to the police there were around 12,000.
Because the pension system will not be financed in the long term due to the aging population, the French government wants to gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 years. In addition, the number of payment years required for a full pension is to increase more rapidly. A number of individual systems with privileges for certain professional groups are to be abolished. The monthly minimum pension is to rise to around 1,200 euros.
The retirement age is currently 62 years. In fact, however, retirement begins later on average: those who have not paid in long enough to be entitled to a full pension also work longer. On Thursday, more than 1.1 million people opposed the government’s pension plans in a major strike and mass protests across the country. 80,000 protested in Paris alone.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the Left Party LFI accused French President Emmanuel Macron at the rally on Saturday of “dirtying everything, reducing everything, quantifying everything” with his policies. “Damn you for wanting to turn everything into a commodity,” he said to the president. The government received support for its reform plans from tech billionaire Elon Musk. He tweeted on Friday that Macron’s plans are difficult but right.
Macron had already tried in 2019 to simplify the complicated French pension system and enforce that French people work longer. This had led to the longest wave of protests since the 1968 student revolt. The reform project was then initially put on hold because of the corona pandemic.
The current draft law is to be presented in the cabinet on Monday and then debated in the National Assembly. The trade unions have announced a new nationwide protest day for January 31st. On the first day of protests on Thursday, between one and two million people took part across France.