France: New protests planned amid political crisis

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France&nbsp ;: new demonstrations planned against a backdrop of political crisis

Thousands of people gathered on Friday evening at Place de la Concorde, a few hundred meters from the National Assembly and the presidential palace of the Élysée. A brazier was lit and the mood grew tense as night fell, with police charging into the crowd, according to Agence France-Presse journalists.

The Opponents of pension reform in France plan to express their anger over the weekend with new rallies, but the specter of radicalization, after the forced passage of the executive, has led to the ban on all gatherings at Place de la Concorde in Paris.

After two evenings of demonstrations punctuated by incidents, the police headquarters banned gatherings on Place de la Concorde, the largest in Paris, and on the Champs-Élysées. These places are located near the National Assembly and the presidential palace of the Élysée.

People who try to gather there will be systematically ousted by the police and may be fined, the prefecture told Agence France-Presse (AFP), citing risks serious disturbances to public order and security.

Since the government's decision on Thursday to pass by force on the pension reform desired by President Emmanuel Macron, the #x27;opposition has taken a more radical turn, carried by young activists tired of weekly processions and ready to do battle.

Friday evening, like the day before, thousands of people gathered at Place de la Concorde. A brazier was lit and the mood grew tense as night fell, with police charging into the crowd.

Several hundred people clashed with beatings bottles and fireworks the police, who responded with tear gas. According to the police headquarters, 61 people were arrested.

The day before, 10,000 demonstrators had gathered there and 258 people had been arrested.

The government decided on Thursday to resort to article 49.3 of the Constitution which allows the adoption of a text without a vote, unless a mention of censure is voted against the executive.

This decision is considered almost unanimously as a setback for Emmanuel Macron, who has staked a lot of his political credit on this key reform of his second five-year term.

French President Emmanuel Macron has chosen to use article 49.3 of the French Constitution which allows him to adopt a project bill without submitting it to the vote of the National Assembly.

Two motions of censure were tabled against the government and the inter-union called for rallies on Saturday and Sunday, as well as a ninth day of strikes and demonstrations on Thursday, against this decried reform which notably provides for the decline of the retirement age from 62 to 64.

At least two refineries, that of PetroIneos in Lavéra and that of TotalEnergies in Gonfreville-l'Orcher , could be put on hold, no later than Monday, according to the CGT union. Until now, strikers have blocked fuel shipments.

French Industry Minister Roland Lescure hinted on Saturday that the government could make requisitions if these facilities are shut down, to avoid fuel shortages.

He said such measures were being rolled out with garbage collectors in the capital, where 10,000 tonnes of trash are piling up on the sidewalks, according to the town hall.

Trash has been piling up, especially in Paris, since garbage collectors went on strike to protest against pension reform proposed by the French government.

Rallies are planned throughout the weekend: Place d'Italie in Paris, in the second French city Marseille, but also in Brest , Toulon, Montpellier…

In Besançon, 300 demonstrators lit a brazier on Saturday and some burned their voter cards there.

What am I going to say to young people who tell me "vote that useless"? Me, I elected my deputy and he is deprived of a vote. We are in full democratic denial, explained Nathalie, a thirty-year-old who did not wish to give her last name.

Protesters tried to set fire to a borough hall in Lyon on Friday evening.

No-confidence motions are due to be considered in the National Assembly on Monday from 4 p.m. local time, according to parliamentary sources.

The deputies of a centrist independent parliamentary group (Liot) announced the tabling of a cross-partisan motion of censure of the government, co-signed by elected representatives of the radical left (NUPES). The motion castigates the apogee of an unacceptable denial of democracy.

Marine Le Pen's National Rally (far right) also tabled a motion of censure, in stressing that he would vote for all motions presented.

To bring down the government, a motion must receive an absolute majority in the Assembly, or 287 votes. This would require in particular that around thirty deputies from the right-wing Les Républicains (out of 61) vote for the motion of the Liot group.

Friday, the secretary general of the reformist union CFDT , Laurent Berger, once again warned of the growing anger in the country and called on the French president to withdraw the reform.

France is one of the European countries where the legal retirement age is the lowest, although the pension systems are not completely comparable.

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