Paris protests: Shocking moment as rioters set fire to a police station in France as protests rage over Macron’s pension reforms
SHOCKING footage shows rioters setting fire to a police station in France as protests against Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms rage on.
Violence erupted on the streets of Paris after the president’s controversial plan to raise the country’s retirement age from 62 to 64 was approved by the country’s highest constitutional court.
After the verdict was announced, there were clashes with the police in several French cities.
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in front of Paris City Hall and booed the court decision.
An angry mob made its way to Bastille Square, setting fires and confronting the police.
“It’s an illegal march and some of those involved are violent,” said a police officer at the scene.
“Trash cans and rental bikes are set alight and the flames spread while rockets are thrown at officers.”
An extensive security operation was carried out to protect the council, housed in the Royal Palace in central Paris.
Dramatic video shows the Place Sainte-Anne police station in Rennes bursting into flames.
Protests also broke out in other cities, including Marseille and Toulouse.
In Lyon, small groups marching through the city center were dispersed with tear gas,
The nine-member Constitutional Council ruled in favor of key provisions, including raising the retirement age from 62 to 64, and found the legislation in line with the law.
“Stay the course. That’s my motto,” Macron said on Friday while inspecting Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Smaller clauses, including measures to increase the employment of older workers, were rejected on the grounds that they did not belong in legislation annexed to a Social Security Budget Bill.
But key measures – including the crucial increase to 64 – were deemed constitutional.
On Thursday, a mob stormed the Paris headquarters of the luxury group LVMH, which is run by Bernard Arnault, the richest man in the world.
There was also widespread rioting around the Bastille – site of the original 1789 revolution.
Fabien Villedieu of the Sud Rail union said: “If you’re looking for money to fund pensions, take it out of billionaires’ pockets.”
The unions issued a joint statement urging Macron not to sign the law and saying the issue was “unclosed”.
The general secretary of the CGT union, Sophie Binet, called on May 1.
Macron said he would now invite union representatives to discuss his reforms.
The President said: “Friday’s decision by the Constitutional Council will end the democratic and constitutional process.”
But the government argues they are essential to prevent the system from running into a serious deficit and to bring France into line with the rest of Europe.
Macron has called the change “necessary” to avoid annual pension deficits, which the government says are expected to reach 13.5 billion euros (£12 billion) by 2030.
Last month, a strike by Paris garbage workers littered the capital with 10,000 tons of uncollected rubbish.
And shocking footage showed Bordeaux town hall engulfed in flames.
Meanwhile, rioters set fire to City Hall in the city of Lyon as protests erupted across the country.