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France: Violent Clashes Erupt As Pension Reform Protests Escalate

Violent clashes unfolded in the streets of Paris on Thursday as tensions escalated between protesters and riot police during anti-pension reform protests.

An estimated 800,000 took to the streets to demonstrate on top of a widespread transportation strike over proposed pension reforms with some of the protesters getting in physical altercations with riot police.

Footage shows tear gas engulfing the streets as protesters throw objects at police and many being restrained or detained. In at least two occasions riot police targeted members of the press.

The nationwide strike, which started in early December, is one of the biggest to hit the country in years and has been affecting rail, road and air transportation.

The Attac movement performed ‘A Cause De Macron,’ a parody of a popular French song from ten years ago, to highlight the greater strain that will be put on women if the reforms are put into place.

On December 11, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced a two-year-extension of the working period necessary to earn a full pension, 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.

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