After forcing a pension revision without a vote, French President Emmanuel Macron faced his biggest challenge since the Yellow Vest riots on Friday.
Many thousand nonviolent protesters in Paris and other French towns burned cars in the evening. On Friday, trade unions stopped the Paris ring road to encourage employees.
“Something profound occurred,” hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon stated. “That’s where it’s occurring, so I support them.”
To avoid bankruptcy, the pension revamp boosts France’s retirement age to 64. French unions disagree.
A Toluna Harris Interactive survey for RTL radio found that over eight in 10 respondents disapprove of the government’s choice to forgo a parliament vote, and 65% want strikes and protests to continue.
Bypassing the vote “is a rejection of democracy…a total denial of what has been occurring in the streets for several weeks,” said 52-year-old Parisian psychotherapist Nathalie Alquier. “Unbearable.”
France’s largest unions indicated they would keep mobilizing to reverse the measures. Friday protests in locations like Toulon were planned for the weekend. Thursday brings countrywide industrial action.
The nocturnal disturbance resembled the Yellow Vest rallies that erupted in late 2018 over high gasoline costs and partially caused Macron to reverse a carbon levy.
Police detained 310 individuals, and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin threatened to tighten down on troublemakers.
“Opposition and rallies are allowed, but spreading mayhem is not,” he told RTL radio.
Opposition MPs announced they would launch no-confidence resolutions later Friday. However, this was unlikely to pass unless a surprising alliance of far-left and far-right Lawmakers was created.
Conservative Les Republicains leaders have rejected such an alliance. Some LR politicians claimed they might break ranks, but the no-confidence bill would require all opposition MPs and half of LR, which is unlikely.
Bertrand Pancher, a centrist MP who will present a no-confidence vote supported by other parties, asked LR MPs to join.
“Don’t be terrified,” he said on LCI TV.
Weekend or Monday parliament votes were probable.
Macron will want to move on fast, with cabinet officials already working on social measures. He might even fire pension-focused Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.
Both steps may not soothe street fury.
“Let’s demolish what destroys us” was written on a storefront during Thursday’s disturbance.