After the pension reform was pushed through in France, at least 217 people were arrested by the police at a protest in Paris. In the center of the capital there were riots on Thursday evening on the Place de la Concorde, the broadcaster France Info reported.

According to media reports, the riot police used water cannon and tear gas to clear the square. Demonstrators set fire to wooden pallets and threw objects at the police officers. A total of around 6000 participants were counted. Protests also broke out in other French cities such as Marseille, Dijon, Nantes, Rennes, Rouen, Grenoble, Toulouse and Nice.

No government overthrow expected

Left and right-wing nationalists have already announced no-confidence motions. These must be available by the afternoon at the latest, and will be voted on in the coming days. However, it is considered unlikely that the government will be overthrown. The President of the Républicains, Éric Ciotti, has already stated that his group will not support a motion of no confidence. It remains to be seen whether all MPs will comply. After the government’s decision to implement the reform at short notice without a vote, thousands of people gathered in Paris to protest in the center.

For President Macron and the government, the showdown with the unions is not over yet. Yesterday they announced a continuation of the strikes that had been keeping France in suspense for weeks. Flights and trains were cancelled, and since the garbage collection went on strike, huge mountains of rubbish have piled up on the streets of Paris and other cities.

Closing the gap in the pension fund

Currently, the retirement age in France is 62 years. In fact, retirement begins later on average: those who have not paid in long enough to receive a full pension work longer. At the age of 67 there will then be a pension without a deduction, regardless of how long it has been paid in – the government wants to keep this up, even if the number of years of payment required for a full pension is to increase faster than previously planned. She wants to increase the monthly minimum pension to around 1,200 euros. With the reform, the government wants to close an impending gap in the pension fund.

Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne defended the reform plans yesterday on the TF1 evening news. It is about the future of the pension system, which cannot be financed with debt. When drafting the reform, exceptions were made for people with strenuous jobs and early career entry, and low pensions would be raised. “Four out of ten French people don’t have to work until the age of 64,” said the Prime Minister.