Protests Erupt on Labour Day in France as Macron Confronts Controversial Pension Law

France’s President Emmanuel Macron is set to face more nationwide protests on Monday as he tries to move on from a divisive pension law that has caused anger, protests and social unrest.

Macron signed a controversial law last month to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, despite months of strikes against the bill.

Since then, he and his government have attempted to move on from the episode of public discontent, which is one of the biggest challenges to his second term.

However, protesters continue to demonstrate, booing and banging pots and pans at him on his provincial visits.

Unions and opposition hope to have a mass turnout at the May Day rallies to show Macron that they continue to oppose the pension overhaul.

“Almost three in four French people were unhappy with Macron, a survey by the IFOP polling group found last month,” reads the content.

France has been rocked by nationwide strikes and protests against Macron and his pension changes for twelve days since mid-January, some of which have turned violent.

However, momentum appears to have waned at recent strikes and demonstrations held during the working week as the workers appear unwilling to continue sacrificing pay.

In recent weeks, protests have taken a more humorous tone with demonstrators clanging kitchenware to drown out Macron during a speech to the nation after approving the pension law last month.

Borne, who pledged to cut unemployment and make industry greener, sought to move on to other affairs of state but also postponed any discussion on a controversial immigration bill until the autumn for lack of a parliamentary majority, saying she believed it was not the time for another divisive debate.

CFDT union leader Laurent Berger said that the end of talks between unions and the government did not mean the end of all talks, even after the reform was signed into law. If invited, “the CFDT. will go and talk like a union in a firm does with a boss even shortly after that boss did them a nasty turn”, he said.

“A red card for retirement at 64,” reads union activists’ slogan near the Stade de France stadium outside Paris on Saturday where they distributed red cards and whistles to football fans coming to watch the final of the French cup.

Toulouse beat Nantes, but security staff guarded the whistles and not a lot of protest was heard at the planned action time of 49 minutes and 30 seconds into the match.

“We are making sure 2023 goes down in the country’s social history,” said Francois Ruffin, a member of parliament for the hard-left France Unbowed party, who is hoping for mass turnout at the May Day rallies to show their disagreement with the pension overhaul.

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