Police and Protesters Face Off in Paris Amid Pension Reform Strikes

Massive strikes by transportation workers and others over proposed pension reforms gripped France on Thursday, December 5, and Friday, December 6, reports said.

Dozens of trains and flights were canceled and schools were closed or offering only daycare, according to local media.

President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform plan would institute a point-based system that he said would give pensioners “equal rights,” according to local media.

The country’s current system includes dozens of different pension plans with various stipulations that affect benefits and retirement ages, reports said.

Workers from numerous sectors — including health care, public transportation, and education — joined the strikes. Police told local media that more than 800,000 protesters participated in demonstrations in cities across France on Thursday.

Union leaders meeting on Friday called for another mass strike on December 10, reports said. Local media reported that there was “no indication” the pension reforms would be abandoned, but there might be changes as to how they were put into operation.

This video, taken by French media outlet Rouen dans la rue on Thursday, shows police in riot gear dragging a person across the ground as fights break out in Place de la République in Paris.

The footage later shows a haze filling the sky as popping noises are heard in the background. Local media said police used tear gas to disperse protesters in Paris on Thursday. Credit: Rouen dans la rue via Storyful