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Hundreds of protests held across France

Hundreds of protests held across France
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Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated across France as resistance grows to the government’s plan for pension reform.

High school students are the latest to swell the ranks of protestors.

One in four young people in France is out of work, and the students say raising the retirement age means even fewer jobs will be left for them.

There’s no sign of the momentum stalling.

The government is now under real pressure – and the unions know it.

“We’ve never had as many people out as often as this. The government won’t budge so we will have to turn the heat up even higher. It’s the government’s fault, if they want everything to grind to a halt then that’s what will happen.” said Jean-Claude Mailly of the Force Ouvrière union.

There was a big difference in estimations of turnouts for today’s protests.

The government reckoned there were only around 825 thousand people on the streets, the lowest number yet.

But the unions claim up to three million people took part.

Both are looking at the turnout figures for indications of the strength of feeling about the planned pension reform.

Both sides are entrenched – the government is determined to push ahead while the unions and the opposition are calling for a u-turn.