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Almost 500,000 Join Protests Against Government Programs in France

By: Politicized News

· Global Affairs

Massive protests today in Paris threaten to completely shut down all forms of transportation throughout the city. 9 out 10 of Paris’s high-speed trains have been shut down completely, and Charles de Gaulle airport has been forced to cancel flights due to Air France’s grounding of 30% of all domestic flights as a result of employee strikers. The closure of subway stations has left thousands of everyday commuters without transport to work.

The French Ministry of Education estimated approximately 51% of primary school teachers and 42% of secondary school teachers have joined the strike as of this morning, resulting in the widespread shutdown of schools in Paris and other major cities, including Bordeaux, Nantes, and Lyon.
The Eiffel Tower has been closed and nationwide strikes consisting of all sorts of employees and workers have left hospitals, schools, and basic government offices largely abandoned and inaccessible to civilians, even those not participating in the strikes.
Parisian police announced 71 arrests and as many as 9,350 preventative searches conducted on participating civilians as of 3:30 pm today. Municipal law enforcement forces have begun bracing for further violence and break-ins. The Paris Chief of Police has officially cautioned retail stores, restaurants, and businesses of all kinds to close indefinitely and shutter storefronts in an effort to avert damage or raiding.
What is the cause of the uprising? President Emmanuel Macron announced plans to reform France’s notoriously generous pension system, one which currently contains 42 distinctive pension plans and is approaching a $19 billion deficit, according to The New York Times. Mr. Macron’s proposition for reform is via a strategy of consolidation: a streamlining of the various plans into one consistent, standardized, state-managed form.

Past efforts to reform the French welfare state have consistently been met with fierce domestic opposition and public outcry, thus explaining why Macron’s recent propositions have been wildly controversial.

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