Black-clad anarchists clashed with the French authorities in Paris and other large cities during trade union-organized protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
The incident was reportedly part of Labour Day rallies that have manifested throughout Europe, according to Reuters.
Police officers were reportedly hit with projectiles, bicycles were torched, and bus stops were smashed up leading up to the union-led march from Place de la Republique. However, Paris was not the only location terrorized by the rioters; riotous behavior also burst in Lyon, where several vehicles were lit on fire and various business locations were damaged.
Reuters also reported that a fire was started in front of a local administration building in Nantes.
The reform bill that will see the retirement age rise by just two years has solidified anger and frustration among those who feel that the French government’s concern for the general well-being of daily hardships is not being considered. However, the reform bill’s age for retirement is not unusual throughout Europe, with Euro News reporting that the average age of retirement for men in Europe is 64.3, while it is 63.5 for women.
Sophie Binet, the apparent leader of the leftist CGT union, said that the “executive cannot govern without the support of its people,” adding that it had not yet considered talks with the government about other work-related issues.
There are those who appear to be in support of burning major French cities to the ground over the tiny difference in age for retirement, with Angelina Meslem, a fellow protester, saying: “All those who were against the overhaul continue to vent their anger - it’s good, necessary and legitimate.”The New York Times reported that Antoine Bristielle, head of the polling department at the Fondation Jean-Jaures research institute, said: “Macron is trying to move forward no matter what, but people are standing still. About 60 percent of the population say they don’t want to move on from the pension reform.”