More than a million people took part in demonstrations across France on Thursday, halting trains and cutting electricity production, in protest against government plans to raise the retirement age by two years to 64.
The government said a total of 1.12 million people had taken part in the demonstration, including 80,000 at a march in Paris, which saw police clash briefly with some protesters.
The stoppages are a major test for President Emmanuel Macron, who said on Thursday that his pension reform plan, which opinion polls show is hugely unpopular, was “just and responsible” and had to be carried out.
“It’s salaries and pensions that must be increased, not the retirement age,” read one large banner carried by workers that opened the protest march in Tours, in western France.
“I’ll have to prepare my walking frame if the reform goes through,” said Isabelle, 53, a social worker, saying her job was too tough to add two more years.
The turnout was quite a large number, even by French standards, and more than the turnout at a first rally against a previous pension reform in 2019…