France: Macron denounces radical blocs, violence

350,000 on streets of Paris against the pension reform - CGT union

24 January, 18:22

    Demonstration against pension reform in Paris Demonstration against pension reform in Paris

    PARIS - French President Emmanuel Macron denounced during a cabinet meeting "the acts of violence and the radicalism of some blocs" in the protest movement against the pension reform presented by the government Friday, said government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye at the conclusion of the meeting at the Elysee Palace.

    Macron also appealed for the "greatest firmness towards those responsible".

    "Hate, intimidation of others, on the pretext of differences whether they are political or union, can never be acceptable," Macron said on Friday, a day that saw new protests and strikes against the reform.

    In Paris, the march started at midday from Place de la République to finish at Place de la Concorde.

    A total of between 350,000 and 400,000 participants came out to protest against the pension reform, according to trade union CGT.

    That number was, however, a sharp decline compared to the initial demonstrations in December.

    CGT leader Philippe Martinez, among those most opposed to the reform, participated in the march.

    "Everyone has understood only one thing: that we will be working longer," Martinez said.

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