French youth hold rallies in Paris against government pension reform

AP - Lewis Joly

A dozen youth organisations marched through Paris on Saturday afternoon, to show their anger over the government's pension reform. Actively supported by far-left party France Unbowed party, they are hoping to capitalise on the success of the massive inter-union march and strike on Thursday.

"Resistance!", "We are here, even if Macron does not want it", read the slogans on signs held by members of the dozen youth organisations gathered at the head of the procession in Paris.

Left-wing France Unbowed (LFI) leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon congratulated the demonstrators on his Twitter page, saying that 150,000 people turned out. Independent audit company Occurrence counted 14,000 protesters.

Speaking to the crowds, former presidential candidate slammed Emmanuel Macron for "wanting to transform our entire existence into merchandise (...) dirty everything, spoil everything, reduce everything, quantify everything".

The turnout was also praised by Colin Champion, president of the La Voix Lycéenne union while L'Alternative, another student union, welcomed "a very massive youth turnout".

Antisocial measure

"We realized that the young people wanted to put themselves forward, that they felt the first concerned," says Philippe Juraver, one of the LFI representatives told French news agency AFP on Saturday.

Young people fear "a reduction in the number of jobs", said Noémie Stickan, representative of the FIDL high school student union adding that students want "to say stop to this antisocial measure" of the postponement of the retirement age to 64 years.

(with newswires)

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