Paris/UNI: More than 150,000 people participated in a protest against the planned pension reform in Paris, BFMTV reported citing data from the organizers – the left-wing La France Insoumise (LFI) party led by Jean-Luc Melenchon.
At the same time, the Occurrence research institute said that 14,000 people took part in the Saturday demonstration in the French capital.
Melenchon has criticized Occurrence, saying on Twitter on Saturday that the institute was “macronist” and making fun of its estimates regarding the number of participants in the demonstration.
A RIA Novosti correspondent reported on Saturday that protesters in Paris set trash cans on fire, broke traffic lights and blew up firecrackers.
Some radicals smashed bank windows and ATM machines and threw glass bottles at the police while chanting “Down with capitalism” and “[French President Emmanuel] Macron, we will fight till the end!”.
Earlier in January, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne unveiled a draft of the controversial pension reform that the government plans to adopt in 2023.
According to the draft, the French authorities will gradually raise the retirement age in the country by three months a year from Sept 1, 2023. By 2030, the retirement age will reach 64 years.
France’s leading trade unions announced nationwide strikes against the pension reform starting from Jan 19.
Over 200 demonstrations were held across the country on Thursday, with the largest protests taking place in Paris, Marseilles, Lyon, Toulouse, Lille and Nantes.
The demonstration was joined by nearly 1.12 million people, with 80,000 of them reportedly in Paris alone.