Police in Paris pepper sprayed young protesters near the Sorbonne University as increasingly tense protests swept through France today.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets in a second day of nationwide demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to force a bill through parliament to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 without a vote.
Protesters blocked traffic, bin collections have stopped and students walked out of lectures after Mr Macron ordered the Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to use a special constitutional power known as Article 49.3 to force through the controversial reform in the National Assembly, France’s lower house of parliament.
This morning, Paris’s peripherique – the main ring-road around the capital – was disrupted at almost 200 points during peak rush hour, according to French media.
The French Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, said on Friday that 310 people were arrested in protests yesterday, 258 of those in Paris.
Mr Macron’s risky strategy has infuriated unions, opposition lawmakers and many citizens.
Opposition parties were expected to start the process for a no-confidence vote in the government later on Friday.
The vote is likely to take place next week.
The controversial reform has prompted nationwide strikes since January but the increasingly chaotic political situation has sparked immense anger.
Yellow Vest demonstrators, or the Gilets Jaunes, the protest group that has brought France to a standstill at several points in recent years, are also set to take to the streets later.
Outside the largest waste incinerator in Europe, rubbish collectors insisted they would intensify the strikes to force the government to reverse course.
The collectors had voted to continue their strike action until at least 20 March, France Info reported.
More than 9,000 tons of waste has not been collected in Paris since the start of the strike.
“I call, and the CGT union calls, for a massive movement and for workers to go on strike massively,” said CGT union representative Régis Vieceli.
“That’s the only thing that will get them to back down. We need to hit them financially. When they start seeing the financial impact, they’ll go and cry on Macron’s shoulder.”