Violent clashes mar Paris pension reform protests

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Clashes with police marred pension reform protests in Paris on Tuesday, though demonstrations were quieter than in previous days, according to AFP. 

People, some dressed in black and masked, looted a business, set rubbish bins on fire, damaged street furniture and threw projectiles at the police.

They numbered around 700. 

Unrest was sparked by President Emmanuel Macron pushing through plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 – without parliamentary approval. 

The reforms are deeply unpopular, with many claiming they will disproportionately affect women and poorer workers, though the government has said change is needed to make the system viable. 

There have been widespread incidents of police violence. 

Yesterday’s trouble broke out on Boulevard Voltaire, a famous road in the 11th arrondissement of the French capital, at the front of a union procession. 

Officers fired tear gas to “break up” the crowd, allow “the intervention of firefighters” and “facilitate the progression” of the rest of the largely peaceful procession, according to the Paris police headquarters (PP).

55 people were arrested and 10,000 checks took place around the demonstration, say authorities. 

Other incidents occurred at Place de la Nation as police tried to clear a demonstration at around 7:00 p.m.

Stones and bottles were thrown at officers, who fired numerous tear gas canisters in return.

By 8:30 p.m., calm had returned to the square, where only a few dozen demonstrators remained.

An injured woman was seen to by the emergency services, noted an AFP journalist on the scene.

At least four others received care from volunteer “street medics”. Some had head injuries and one, who was wearing a press armband, had a minor leg injury. 

According to Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, 13,000 police – including 5,500 in Paris – were mobilised for the 10th day of protest against the pension reform, a device he described as “unprecedented”.