French diners enjoy glass of wine as city burns in background during Macron protests
French diners were filmed sipping from glasses of wine and using their phones as a fire raged in the background during protests against Emmanuel Macron’s retirement age plans.
In a viral video posted on TikTok, diners at Place de la Victoire, in the southern wine-growing region of Bordeaux, appeared unphased as they glanced at the flames, scrolled on their phones and drank wine.
A number of fires have been started by demonstrators in recent days, as people protested against the president pushing through a bill to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 last week.
It is reported that more than a million people took to the streets across France on Thursday after Mr Macron made the change using controversial executive powers, meaning he did not permit a vote in the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament.
He has argued the changes to the retirement age are a “necessity” to keep the pension budget from running into deficit.
In response, protesters set fire to Bordeaux’s historic town hall last week as part of the protests, though the blaze was quickly put out by firefighters.
Across France, around 80 people were arrested by police and 123 police personnel and gendarmes were injured, French interior minister Gérald Darmanin said. He said 12,000 security forces had been deployed on Thursday, with 5,000 of these stationed in Paris.
Alongside the protests, there have been widespread strikes that have involved transport workers, teachers, rubbish collectors and oil refinery workers.
Meanwhile, King Charles was forced to postpone a state visit to the country, which was due to start on Sunday over security concerns caused by the protests.
President Macron on Friday condemned the violence and said security forces have worked “in an exemplary manner”.