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Protests over pension reforms ravage France

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on December 17, 2019 - Duration: 01:06s

Protests over pension reforms ravage France

French trade unions crippled transport, shut schools, and brought demonstrators into the streets on Tuesday in a redoubled effort to force President Emmanuel Macron to ditch a planned pension reform by Christmas.

Lauren Anthony reports.

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Protests over pension reforms ravage France

Demonstrators in France have poured onto the streets, in a redoubled effort to get President Emmanuel Macron's government to ditch a planned pension reform by Christmas.

Tear gas was fired at protesters in Nantes.

And in Paris, even the Eiffel Tower was closed.

Transport was crippled as metro lines halted, and schools were also shut.

Trade unions called for the mobilization in a bid to regain momentum after rolling strikes began to tail off in recent days.

Macron seeks to streamline the state's pension system and prod people to work until the age of 64, instead of the current average retirement age of 62.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) MANAGER AT RATP PARIS TRANSPORT COMPANY AND CGT UNIONIST, YANNICK NOBLAYE, SAYING: "We'll continue until the plan is withdrawn, whether it be on Christmas, after Christmas, New Year's Day, or Easter.

We'll continue unless the plan is withdrawn." Thousands of rail workers, nurses, teachers, and public service employees marched.

The unions and Macron are each hoping to push the other to back down over the festive period, with the prospect that strikes over the holiday would alienate an increasingly frustrated public.

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