Why are the French protesting?

The streets of the European country have been filled with protesters who disagree with a new measure by Emmanuel Macron.

Protests in France for the pension reform proposed by the Government of Emmanuel Macron.

Protests in France for the pension reform proposed by the Government of Emmanuel Macron. / Photo: EFE

LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué están protestando en Francia?

France is in the middle of a strike and a series of protests over a new pension reform. The reform, which was one of the central promises of the Macron campaign, has prompted citizens to take the streets to express their dissatisfaction with the merger of the 42 special regimes and the implementation of a point system. The proposal is that all workers enjoy the same rights when they retire and eliminate certain privileges granted by having performed certain professions.

Those who oppose the reform, according to El Colombiano, fear that the new system will delay the pension age that is now 62 years old. In addition, they believe that the points system would reduce the pension amount. Citizens have also stated that there are no guarantees that the following governments will not change the rules of the game, many are afraid that retirees will end up losing.

El País highlights that the strike and the protests are paradoxical considering that the exact content on the reform is not yet fully known. At the moment, there is only the Delevoye report in which the general lines of the project are broken down. The reform would be submitted to parliament in early 2020.

What is Macron's answer?

The French president has adopted an observation posture. According to El País, the president will not rush to make statements or make decisions while the demonstrations are taking place. The Elysee Palace said that Macron is calm and that he will carry out the reform “by listening and consulting,” which means that there is scope to make adjustments and take into consideration what the citizens express.

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It should also be noted that the president is not alone in this pension crusade. Macron has on his side the head of the first union in France, Laurent Berger. The unionist does not agree with the protests and will wait to know the full content of the law.

Crowd assistance

According to official figures, more than 800 thousand people have left to march, of which 65 thousand are in Paris. Because of the strikes, 90% of the long-distance railways are not working and 70% of the schools closed their doors.

The number of protesters and the consequences that the protests have brought are compared to the 1995 events. At that time, President Jacques Chirac also faced the discontent of French citizens in trying to promote a reform in the retirement system.

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