AFP – Thousands of people demonstrated on Saturday against French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed pension reforms which have sparked a month-long transport strike.
Some protesters donned the yellow vests which over the past year have become symbolic of opposition to Macron’s attempts at reforms he says will rationalise France’s 42 separate pension regimes into a single points-based system. Unions reject the scheme saying it would require millions of people to work beyond the official retirement age of 62.
The marchers set off after midday from the Gare de Lyon railway station in eastern Paris behind a giant banner reading “”Macron, withdraw your plan; save and improve our retirements”, heading for Gare de l’Est, 4 kilometres to the north.
Reaching the opera house at Bastille square, some demonstrators shouted “we don’t want the grandfather clause” referring to proposals for new opera dancers to lose the current generous pension benefits enjoyed by older colleagues who can currently retire at 42.
So far, more than 60 performances at the Paris opera’s historic Garnier and modern Bastille stages have been cancelled, leading to losses of more $13.4 million in ticket sales.
Several other professions also enjoy special pension provisions.