A smattering of protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise France’s retirement age from 62 to 64 took place in Paris and beyond, as uncollected garbage reeked in the streets of the French capital amid a strike by sanitation workers.
Largely non-violent protests were held in various cities, including Nantes and Marseille, where protesters got past police to occupy the main train station for around 15 minutes. In the eastern city of Besancon, hundreds of demonstrators lit a brazier and burned voter cards.
In Paris, police sought to restore calm after two consecutive nights of unrest. Police banned gatherings on the Champs-Elysées avenue and the elegant Place de la Concorde, where protesters tossed an effigy of Macron into a bonfire as a crowd cheered.
Several thousand protesters gathered at a public square in southern Paris, the Place d’Italie, then marched toward Europe’s biggest waste incineration plant, which has become a flashpoint of tensions. Some set trash cans on fire, and protesters chanted mottos such as “the streets are ours” as firefighter sirens wailed.
Protesters are trying to pressure lawmakers to bring down Macron’s government and doom the unpopular retirement age increase he’s trying to impose without a vote in the National Assembly.