Life in France has stopped: Black Thursday news. Last Minute EUROPE, France, CURRENT, POLITICAL news headlines and events

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Unions in France, united against a government reform that raises the retirement age, took to the streets today to shut down life in the country.

All 8 trade union confederations protesting the government’s increase in the retirement age from 62 to 64 called on all workers today to go on strike to repeal the law.

The French, who took to the streets at the call of the eight main trade union confederations (CFDT, CGT, FO, CFE-CGC, CFTC, Unsa, Solidaires, FSU), demanded the immediate repeal of the “unfair and unnecessary” reform, which extended the period for paying insurance premiums, as well as retirement age.
The government, on the other hand, argues that “if the retirement age is not raised, the entire system will be threatened by huge deficits” and says they should pass legislation.

In preparation for a gigantic show of force involving millions of workers, the unions called for a “mass mobilization” of workers in both the public and private sectors.

With the participation of transport, energy, oil, education and healthcare of the country, transport was completely paralyzed. Life has stopped in schools, hospitals, government offices, workplaces. Public services in the country came to a halt as diplomats, medical workers and even all police unions decided to go on strike.

While demonstrations were organized from hundreds of venues across the country, the giant show in the capital Paris began at Place de la République. The cortege will pass through the Places de la Nation and the Bastille and will try to announce its reaction to the government.

Banks, large companies and high-end stores along the motorcade’s route closed their shutters for fear of attack.

800,000 people are expected across the country.

It is expected that from 60 to 80 thousand people will take part in the action in Paris, and from 600 to 800 thousand people will take part in hundreds of actions that will be held in every city of the country.

Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin said there were about 1,000 people in the motorcade capable of violence, including the radical Yellow Vests and members of the radical left. Minister Darmanin announced that 3,500 policemen would be on duty in Paris and 10,000 throughout the country.

Public transport, the railway and Air France have decided to go on strike, aiming for “zero transport” in the country. Refinery workers, who decided to go on strike, cut off the fuel supply to the station, weakening road transport. While the French, who wanted to go to work in the morning, experienced great difficulties, companies have implemented a work-from-home system.

While very few employees were able to take trains and subways during the morning rush hours, long queues formed in traffic jams when a significant proportion of employees wanted to get to their jobs in their cars. Some employees also preferred to commute to work by scooter and bicycle.

The unions are relying on the participation of the French in nationwide street protests, who in polls have expressed overwhelming opposition to the reform.

Support for leftist parties

The parties of the left, the Greens, the Communists, the Socialists and France Indomitable supported the strike, while the centre-right Republicans sided with the government.

Trade unions refused to join the march, the far-right National Integration Party, which supported the law.

Worried about the social explosion of the Yellow Vest movement that has rocked the country, the government plans to pass legislation quickly with Republican (LR) support despite the strikes. However, if the government does not fight back, the unions have announced that they will go on a general strike next week.

Exam day for Macron

The government is trying to downplay the strike, but behind the scenes everyone is holding their breath.

It was criticized that President Emmanuel Macron and Interior Minister Gerald Darminin entrusted the running of the country to Prime Minister Elisabeth Bourne and traveled to Barcelona to sign a “friendship and cooperation agreement with Spain” with 11 ministers.

French President Emmanuel Macron met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Barcelona.

Especially during demonstrations where 10,000 policemen will be on duty and violence is expected, at least the absence of the interior minister in the country caused a reaction.

Proposals of trade unions such as “turn off the electricity of the polling stations of deputies” were not accepted by the trade union administrations.

Elizabeth Bourne asked ministers to attend public meetings to reduce the scale of the protest.

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