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Pension protests held across France, but turnout was far lower than expected

Demonstrators hold a placard reading 'National library on strike' as they attend a protest march in Paris
Demonstrators hold a placard reading 'National library on strike' as they attend a protest march in Paris Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews with AFP, EFE
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Around 280,000 people took to the streets across France on Tuesday to protest the government's contentious pension reform, far fewer than the last demonstration on 1 May.

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After five months of mobilisations against France's controversial pension reforms, the country's trade unions called for a 14th day of demonstrations, as attempts to repeal the law struggle to make much progress in the Assembly.

The General Secretary of the French Democratic Confederation of Labour, Laurent Berger, said the day of protests "is obviously the last on the issue of pensions in this format."

But he added that demonstrations must serve to "show the strength of the trade union movement to take up the challenges that lie ahead," such as "purchasing power, wages, housing [and] working conditions." 

Michel Euler/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
A man holds placard with the slogan "Not happy" during a protest in Paris, France, Tuesday, June 6, 2023Michel Euler/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

Some 250 demonstrations and rallies were planned across France. 

Officials had been expecting between 400,000 and 600,000 protesters across the country, including 40,000 to 70,000 in Paris, where the demonstration set off from Les Invalides at 2.00 pm local time towards the Place d'Italie.

However, the French government said that attendance was closer to 281,000 on Tuesday.

Some 11,000 police officers and gendarmes were deployed, including 4,000 in the capital. 

Members of France's CGT union briefly entered and blocked the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Organising Committee. 

An unknown number of CGT members entered the building, located in Aubervilliers, in the northern suburbs of Paris, while several dozen stood outside the doors with banners and flags while chanting slogans.

Demonstrators shouted, "No retirement, no OG [Olympic Games]" during the protest. 

Watch Euronews' report in the video player above to learn more.

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