Alwaght- The French police arrested more than 200 people at protests against the controversial pension reform in central Paris, French media reported on Thursday, citing a police source.
Earlier in the day, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said that the government had adopted the law on raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 years by invoking Article 49.3 of the constitution, which allowed the government to pass the bill without parliamentary approval.
The latest figures released by reports suggest some 217 people have been arrested, although the tally is expected to increase as protests continue. Police units are chasing several hundred protesters who scattered through the streets in central Paris after police dispersed the protest on the Place de la Concorde, reports have detailed. Protesters have overturned trash bins, which have piled up in large numbers on the streets as a result of the garbage collectors' strike..
In the meantime, protests continue across France, local media report.
According to the France Bleu broadcaster, some 10,000 people gathered in the city of Toulouse, where police used tear gas against the protesters.
Protests were also held in Bordeaux, Lyon, Grenoble, Lille, Nancy, Metz, Nantes, Toulon, Amiens, Le Havre, Montpellier, and Rennes, where police have also been dispersing demonstrators with the use of tear gas.
Rallies took place in Marseille as well, with protesters smashing banks' windows and storefronts. Several hundred students held a protest in Strasbourg. In Dijon, protesters burned dolls with the faces of French President Emmanuel Macron, Borne, and Labour Minister Olivier Dussopt.
Laurent Berger, the secretary general of the French Democratic Confederation of Labour, announced another general strike against the pension reform on March 23.
According to a poll held by Harris Interactiv for the TF1 broadcaster, 82% of the French opposed the government's decision to adopt the law on raising the retirement age without a vote in the parliament. At the same time, 71% of France's citizens supported a no-confidence vote in the incumbent government, and 65% of the French were in favor of continuing the protests.
In January, Borne unveiled a draft of the controversial pension reform that the government plans to adopt in 2023. Under the reform project, the French authorities intend to gradually raise the retirement age in the country by three months per year starting from September 1, 2023. By 2030, the retirement age will reach 64.
The draft reform has caused a massive backlash in French society. There have already been seven general strikes and hundreds of demonstrations in France within the last two months, with over 1 million people taking part in most of them. During the protests, clashes often broke out between the police and protesters.