Strikers march during a demonstration Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Marseille, southern France. Rail workers, teachers, doctors, lawyers and others joined another nationwide day of protests and strikes Tuesday to denounce French President Emmanuel Macron's plans to overhaul the pension system. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Macron tries to calm tensions over retirement changes


French President Emmanuel Macron tried Tuesday to calm nationwide tensions and salvage support for his overhaul of the country's retirement system, as France faced day 41 of crippling strikes.

Clutches of union activists gathered in Paris and other cities to demand that the government scrap the pension reform altogether. The plan's toughest opponents were unmoved by the prime minister's unexpected weekend decision to suspend a central measure: raising the full pension eligibility age from 62 to 64.

Struggling to save face and prevent new protest violence as his signature reform falters, Macron called for calm Tuesday and tried to show that he has heard protesters' concerns.

“We understand the reactions,” he told reporters in the southern city of Pau. “It’s a subject that legitimately worries people.”

“We never like change,” he said. “There were always strikes, and there always will be on this subject.”

The strikes have hobbled public transport and disrupted schools, hospitals, courthouses and even opera houses. While the number of striking workers has diminished since the movement began Dec. 5, several trains and Paris subways were still halted Tuesday.

Opponents fear the reform will force them to work longer for less money. Macron insisted that the current system of more than 42 special pension regimes, created after World War II, has become unfair and ill-suited to the current economy. The government also says it’s too costly in a country with long life expectancy.

Macron called for “calm and clarity” and promised better explanation of what the changes will mean for different French workers.

As if bracing for new protest violence, he denounced extremist protesters who hijack demonstrations to attack police. But he also acknowledged growing concerns about police violence, and called on the interior minister to improve police “ethics and controls” to prevent abuses.

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The pictures indicate that that it's a little bit more than "tensions"

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The only reason France was ever able to become a high-income nation is because of US loans and political support during the 70s and 80s. Thanks to the US support, they had a long period of economic growth, which ended in the early 2000s. Now that all the support and loans are gone, the French are gradually going back to their nature of being a centrally planned socialist society. Macaron is a political prostitute who will sell his own mother to stay in power. Some of his advisors are pushing for free market reforms, but the communist populace won't allow it, and Macaron will do anything to please them. I bet in the next presidential elections, either another extreme socialist will win, in which case France will become the next Italy, or a right-wing nationalist will win by blaming all their problems on the EU and immigrants. What a mess.

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In 2018, Russian protestors did the same thing

The 2018 Russian pension protests were a series of country-wide protests and demonstrations in the Russia demanding abandoning of the retirement age hike induced by recently announced by Russian State Duma law.

An intention to hike the national retirement age and the more so a final decision to launch the reform have drastically downed the rating of the president Vladimir Putin and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev in Russia. For example, in July 2018, just 49% would vote for Putin if the presidential elections were held in that moment (while during the elections in March, he got 76,7%)

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