Police clashed with protestors on the streets of France after the country’s Government imposed President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular pension reform plan without a parliamentary vote.
The pension reform plan was one of Mr Macron’s presidential campaign promises which set out to raise the age of retirement from 62 to 64, to improve the country’s finance and decrease the deficit.
The law passed on 16th March 2023 when France’s Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, invoked article 49:3 of the constitution, allowing the Government to avoid a vote in Parliament. The decision took place mere minutes before parliamentarians were scheduled to vote on the bill.
Moments later thousands of protesters lit a bonfire in Place de la Concorde, France’s largest public square, and clashed with police who fired tear gas at them.
Mr Macron is under fierce scrutiny from parliamentarians for having undemocratically passed the law without a vote. Marine Le Pen, far-right leader of the largest opposition party, has already filed a motion of no confidence to bring down the Government.
Unrest across the country has been ongoing since 19th January, in a bid to prevent the law from passing, with millions attending protests and participating in strikes.
The city of Paris’ sanitation workers went on strike on 6th March, leading to The City of Light becoming the city of garbage, as reportedly over 5,000 tonnes of trash littered the streets within days.
While the law has passed, the country’s worker unions who have been at the forefront of national protests have promised to maintain their opposition with The General Confederation of Labour, one of the country’s largest unions, having announced a day of strikes and demonstrations for 23rd March.
In contrast, Malta’s age of retirement is between 62 and 65, depending on when you were born.
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