The pension riots in France escalated over the weekend, resulting in the police launching more than 4,000 non-lethal dispersion grenades at protesters who have been calling into question French President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension reform bill, which raises the retirement age by two years.
Police and environmental activists engaged over the weekend, resulting in dozens of injuries and hundreds of arrests, per Fox News. The outlet reported that millions of people have protested Macron’s immensely unpopular pension reform bill that is set to change the retirement age from 62 to 64.
The rioters have only become more energetic since King Charles III’s planned trip to France was cancelled due to the violent riots that have ripped through the country. There were a total of 450 rioters who were arrested on Thursday, with approximately 300 demonstrations that add up to more than a million people nationwide.
The onslaught of protests, turned riots, caught the attention of teenagers, who will not have to reap the consequences of Macron’s pension bill for decades to come. This could spell disaster for Macron, as it appears that the protests extend beyond those directly affected by the pension reform.
Macron’s former President François Hollande has chimed in on the situation, saying that “[a]nger and resentment are at a level that I have rarely seen.”
Consequently, the police have deployed rocks, powerful fireworks, and gasoline bombs in an effort to keep the protesters at bay, per Fox News.
There are reportedly spray-painted slogans in Paris suggesting comparisons between the current demonstrations and those that ultimately led to the French Revolution in 1789. The king, Louis XVI, was eventually sentenced to death and met his fate by guillotine in 1793.
Rioters are not suggesting the same end for Macron, but the constant strikes and protests are set to severely threaten Macron’s hope to be re-elected for his second and final term.
Macron has not yet backed down from pushing forward with the pension reform bill, which is set to take effect by the end of the year.