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France: Protesters and Police Clash As Parliament Begins Debating Pension Reform Bill

Protesters took to the streets of Paris on Monday and clashed with riot police as the pension reform bill reached the French National Assembly for debate.

Tensions between the demonstrators and riot police were visible, as the police tried to keep protesters at bay with batons, before arresting a few. Yellow Vests and unionist with flares could also be seen joining in with the rally.

“Sixty per cent of the French are against this reform and against a certain number of measures which have been taken before. We are under attack from all sides on social justice, in a country that prides itself on its freedom, its fraternity,” said a protester.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced a two-year-extension of the working period necessary to earn a full pension in December, triggering the anger of workers and trade unions. The reforms attempt to overhaul France’s pension system into a universal system that will see pay-outs calculated from whole careers rather than the current last five years of activity. The pension age will also be increased from 62 to 64. Strikes and protests have been ongoing for several months in one of the longest-running strikes in French history.

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