During protests against the pension reform in France on Saturday, there were clashes between the police and demonstrators for the third night in a row. Garbage cans were set on fire in the capital Paris and the police used tear gas. Protests also broke out in other cities across the country, including Nantes, Marseille and Bordeaux.
Fearing that the protests would become more radical, the Paris Prefecture banned all demonstrations on and around the Place de la Concorde and the Boulevard Champs Elysées. As justification, she referred to "serious risks of disruption of public order and security".
People are rejecting the increase in the retirement age from 62 to 64 that President Emmanuel Macron pushed through on Thursday, bypassing a parliamentary vote. A broad alliance of the main French unions has announced further action to reverse the increase. In the past few weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets against the plans. On Friday, 61 people were temporarily arrested during the protests.
As a result of the protests, mountains of rubbish are piling up in the capital. In addition, oil refineries were on strike and railway employees continued their strikes.
Macron justified raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 by saying that otherwise the pension system would collapse. Out of fear of a defeat in parliament, his government pushed through the plan without a vote and invoked an article in the constitution that allows this. Raising the retirement age is one of the President's most important projects.
Observers had said that bypassing the vote was evidence that Macron's ability to organize majorities for reform projects had suffered. This should now also affect future projects, it said.