Blaze at Macron-visited Paris restaurant as pension protests continue

Blaze at Macron-visited Paris restaurant as pension protests continue
Copyright  Aurore MESENGE / AFP
By Louise Miner  with AFP and AP

A small fire was quickly put out at La Rotonde restaurant in the early hours on Saturday after a string of demonstrations across the city over pension reform proposals.

An investigation is underway after a small fire was started in a Parisian restaurant in the early hours of Saturday.

Firefighters said it was quickly extinguished at La Rotonde, which was where President Emmanuel Macron celebrated after qualifying for the second-round runoff of the 2017 presidential election. He then went onto win the election.

The nation has seen six weeks of strike action over Macron's pension reforms.

"There was a forced break-in and the beginning of a fire," said Franck Gonnet, La Rotonde's head chef. "Is this linked to the president of the republic? Certainly. We are not going to accuse without proof, without knowing, but certainly."

But Marlene Schiappa, the government's secretary of state for equality, said the blaze ``probably "resulted from a criminal act".

"Seditious groups want the law of `might is right' to reign, to impose violence on all people who think differently from them," Schiappa said on French news channel BFM-TV.

"``It is very alarming and unworthy of a democracy like France," Schiappa added.

Meanwhile, Friday night saw the President having to reportedly escape the Bouffes Du Nord theatre in the city when protesters entered shouting ``"Macron resign". 

Demonstrators were quickly removed from the building by police. They shouted "boos" to a car believed to be carrying Macron which sped away.

France is no stranger to rallies against Macron's reforms and policies. The "yellow vests' demonstrated every Saturday for months on end.

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