France faces new wave of protests

PARIS: Fresh strikes hit trains, schools and refineries in France on Tuesday, February 7, over an unpopular pension reform pushed by President Emmanuel Macron, with nationwide protests planned for later in the day. A third day of union-backed demonstrations since January 19 is set to test momentum for the protest movement which has vowed to block Macron’s bid to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
“We are dealing with a president – because he is at the heart of all this – who, with his over-sized ego, wants to prove that he is capable of passing this reform,” the head of the hardline CGT union, Philippe Martinez, told RTL radio.
As the demonstration in Paris got underway, he warned that more “numerous, massive and rolling” strikes were coming if the government did not drop the plan.
Macron made the reform the heart of his re-election campaign last year and is determined to implement it despite fierce opposition from the political left and unions, but also the wider public. –Agencies