Anti-government rioters brought “fire and blood” to the streets of France today – days after an official visit by King Charles was canceled due to the violence.
Up to a million people joined rallies on Tuesday against President Emmanuel Macron for raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 without a parliamentary vote.
Violence broke out in cities like Paris and Nantes with gangs getting involved in fights with the police.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said, “The extremist elements of the left and the extreme left want to hijack trade union convoys.”
“Their aim is to bring fire and blood to France,” he added, adding that 13,000 police and gendarmes had been mobilized, including 5,500 in Paris alone.
Anti-government rioters have brought “fire and blood” to the streets of France today. Pictured: Riot police accuse pension protesters in Paris
Protests have intensified since the government used special constitutional powers to bypass parliament in a final vote on the pension bill nearly two weeks ago.
The latest protests come days after an official visit by King Charles was canceled due to the violence in Paris. Pictured: A protester throws a rock as he stands amid tear gas
Gerald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, said 13,000 police and gendarmes had been mobilized, including 5,500 in Paris alone. Pictured: a protester clashing with an officer
They were supported by armored cars, water cannons and reserve military units.
Dozens of fires were lit around Nation Square in Paris, after an authorized rally ended in the mid-afternoon.
Paramilitary units responded with tear gas and batons charges in an attempt to hold off the massive group.
The most feared group was the Black Bloc – a coalition of anarchists from all over Europe.
King Charles and Camilla, the Queen’s consort, were supposed to be in Bordeaux today, as part of a four-day state visit to France, but it was largely called off on Friday.
The attacks included an attempt to burn down the town hall in the southwest of the city, where the guilds vowed to barricade the royal couple.
The protest movement is the biggest domestic crisis during Macron’s second term, with strikes on Tuesday also affecting refineries, container groups, rail transport, air travel and schools.
The strikers closed the Louvre Museum in Paris, while pickets continued at petrol depots and waste incinerators, especially around the capital, where 10,000 tons of rubbish still accumulated.
Students hold up a banner in front of the raging fire on the 10th day of national strikes today as unrest escalates across the country
Protesters have taken to the streets in their numbers as President Macron faces a massive backlash over his pension reforms.
Dozens of fires were lit around the Place de la Nation in Paris, after an authorized rally ended in the mid-afternoon
One banner held by a protester dressed as a Gaul read, “Macron has declared war on the people,” after the president raised the retirement age without a parliamentary vote.
The crisis intensified with lawyers complaining of excessive violence and arbitrary arrests by teams of paramilitary police.
A 30-year-old man was fighting for his life in a coma on Tuesday after being repeatedly hit on the head with a police baton during a riot over the weekend.
In turn, Mr. Darmanin said that “several police officers were seriously injured” during the protests.
Despite the violence and industrial paralysis, Macron and his Prime Minister Elisabeth Born said there was no chance of backtracking on a major pension reform.
We have to find the right way, we need to calm down,” said Mrs. Bourne.
A protester jumps through a raging fire during a rally in Paris today as France battles an ongoing national strike against Macron’s pension reforms.
Some protesters wore masks as Paris caught fire in an angry response to Macron’s attempt to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
A lone protester stands in front of French riot police as fireworks explode behind them during a rally attended by up to a million people
Thousands of protesters have been seen marching through the streets of Paris this month. Public frustration has evolved into broader anti-Macron sentiment.
Millions of people have been demonstrating, largely peacefully, and joining the strike since mid-January. Pictured: A riot police officer was struck by fireworks in Paris last week
But Laurent Berger, president of the moderate CFDT union, said the protests would continue until there was a U-turn.
Millions of people have been demonstrating, largely peacefully, and joining the strike since mid-January to show their opposition to Macron’s plans to have most work two more years to 64.
But public frustration has developed into broader anti-Macron sentiment.
Protests have intensified since the government used special constitutional powers to bypass parliament in a final vote on the pension law nearly two weeks ago, sparking chaos reminiscent of the unrest of yellow vest supporters during Macron’s first term as president.