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France back in the square, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower closed


Dumpsters on fire and police charges in Paris. Clashes also in Nantes and Rennes. (HANDLE)

     First clashes in the Parisian procession for the tenth day of mobilization against the pension reform wanted by Emmanuel Macron.

Some garbage bins in the boulevard Voltaire area were set on fire, and the police carried out some charges.

So far 22 have been arrested and 10,000 people searched by the police.

The Parisian procession, which left at 2.00 pm from Place de la République towards Place de la Nation, had

taken place in an absolutely peaceful way.

The first violence broke out in the mid-afternoon, on the sidelines of the demonstration, in a very tense climate between the forces of order and the radical fringes who took action in the capital.

   In addition to Paris, clashes between demonstrators and agents are reported in Nantes, where a bank branch was set on fire and the administrative court was targeted, but also in Rennes, with several damages.

France, dozens of students prevent access to the Montaigne high school in Paris

     The protest, which reached the 10th day of national mobilization today, continues to block the symbolic places of Paris.

The Eiffel Tower was closed due to a strike in conjunction with the start of today's demonstrations, while the Louvre museum was closed yesterday.

A thousand demonstrators invaded the platforms of the Gare de Lyon, one of the main stations in Paris, from which the railway connections with Italy also depart and arrive.

The blitz caused delays in train traffic.

During the protest, protesters walked the tracks for about two kilometers, carrying anti-reform banners and smoke bombs.

   The government, however, does not give up.

"We will not put the reform on pause": sources close to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, quoted by BFM-TV thus respond to the request of Laurent Berger, leader of the first trade union in France (Cfdt), to at least suspend the disputed pension reform, which provides for the progressive raising of the retirement age from 62 to 64 years.

Berger, had invoked the possibility of "mediation" to find "a way out" of the situation, which has blocked the country since 19 January.

   In this regard, the French government spokesman, Olivier Véran, said: "We accept Laurent Berger's proposal to speak to each other, but directly. There is no need for mediation".

"There is no mediator in the Republic when we can speak to each other directly", insisted

Véran, underlining that "we respect strikes and demonstrations, but we will be particularly vigilant so that they do not give rise to new drifts"

violent, he warned, adding that last Saturday's protests in Sainte-Soline against the project to build a mega-reservoir, with very hard clashes between demonstrators and the forces of order, "proved it: the violent do not need pension reform to be violent" and "the project at work is the one that undermines our institutions: the weakening of the Republic".

    Indeed, fearing new clashes and violence, the government today deployed 13,000 agents throughout the country, of which 5,500 in Paris alone.

The demonstration in the capital will start at 2 pm from the Place de la République towards the Place de la Nation.

"We are and will remain a bulwark

against illegitimate and dangerous violence", assured Véran.

    For his part, the president of the French Bishops' Conference, Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, also said he was concerned about the "violence" on the sidelines of the protests against the pension reform, which in his opinion are "an alarming symptom of the state of the social fabric" of the country.

"The violence observed on the sidelines of some demonstrations in recent days, the violence perpetrated by certain groups that use violence as a political weapon, the tragedies sometimes caused by not always controlled reactions of those who maintain public order disturb our fellow citizens: they are an alarming symptom of the state of the French social fabric", warned the high prelate, as he opened the plenary session of the conference of French bishops in Lourdes.

  But in the meantime, the CGT union has announced the suspension of the garbage collectors' strike starting tomorrow.

In Paris, in recent weeks, tons of rubbish have remained on the ground as part of the protests against the pension reform, transforming the French capital into a sort of huge open-air dump.

Pension reform in France, Bordeaux: the gate of the Municipality on fire

Many striking railway workers also paid tribute to a colleague of theirs who is a member of the Sud-Rail union, who lost an eye during the protests in the Paris demonstration on 23 March.

While the disruptions in transport continue.

Today, the SNCF railway company expects just three out of five TGVs (high-speed trains) in circulation as well as half of the regional trains, with particular difficulties in the Ile-de-France region, the Paris region which concentrates around 20% of the population from beyond the Alps.

SNCF Voyageurs advises travelers that they can cancel their trip.

Clashes in France: protesters set fire to police vehicles

Heavy inconvenience also in suburban trains in Paris, with 40% of RER trains (Réseau Express Rapide) canceled on lines A and B (the latter connects the Parisian airports of Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly to the center of the capital).

As for the subway, normal traffic on the automatic unmanned lines of the Ratp 1 and 14 but also on the 3bis, 7bis and 9. On the other lines, the frequency of the trains is lower or much lower than usual. 

Strong fears for public order.

The social unrest, which has lasted for two and a half months, is registering a surge in tension also due to the serious incidents that took place last Saturday in western France, due to protests against the construction of a large reservoir for agricultural purposes.

Ecologists and militants were joined by radicalized elements and the day ended in a battle with dozens injured.

Two demonstrators are still hospitalized in serious condition and an investigation has been opened into the incident.

Source: ansa

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