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French roads, fuel deliveries blocked by protesters

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French unions have pledged to bring France to a “standstill” on Tuesday in one of the biggest strikes to date to protest the government’s proposed pension reforms, which include raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64. Hundreds of thousands of French workers are expected to take to the streets to protest the changes. Follow our blog for the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

3:22pm: High turnout for Paris strike

FRANCE 24’s Liza Kaminonov is reporting from the streets of Paris, where protesters have gathered to express their displeasure with the government’s pension reform plans.

“The turnout was high, maybe even higher than the Jan. 31 protests,” Kaminoff said. “Police say there are around 60,000 to 90,000 protesters in Paris alone, but that number seems to be increasing as we walk with the crowd.”

Despite the challenges of continuing the strike, the protesters are determined to “bring the economy to a standstill and bring the country to a standstill,” she said.

Watch the report in the video below:

1:58pm: Women’s inequality a key part of pension reform debate

French women, whose pensions are already 40 percent lower than men, are said to be the biggest losers in the new pension reform. This is because women are more likely to take time off from work to care for children and other family members, thus earning the right to fully retire later.

In the clip below, FRANCE 24’s show “France in Focus” examines pension inequality in France:

Focus on France
Focus on France © France 24

12:48pm: Teachers strike

Unions estimated that 60% of the country’s teachers resigned on Tuesday, while the Education Ministry put the figure at about 30%.

12.23pm: Paris stalled ‘a little nerve-wracking’, tourists say

FRANCE 24’s Clovis Casali reported from the Saint-Lazare train station in central Paris, as travel plans for tourists and commuters alike were severely hit on Tuesday. interference.

One tourist he spoke to described the interruptions as “a little nerve-wracking”. He also spoke to a French woman who said she experienced no delays on her early morning commute, but added that the strike “needs to continue”.

Watch the interview in the clip below:

11:23am: Protest marches from Nice to Reims

Protest marches have taken place in several cities, from Nice in the south to Reims in the northeast.

10:46am: Garbage bin collectors in Paris on strike since Monday

Garbage collectors in Paris went on strike on Monday as hundreds of tons of rubbish began piling up on the streets of the French capital.

10:38am: Why the French take retirement so seriously

In an interview with FRANCE 24, economist François Geerolf of Sciences Po explains why the French take retirement so seriously, noting that the country’s famous 35-hour workweek is far from a reality for many of the country’s white-collar workers.

Watch his full explanation in the video below:

10:19 a.m.: Rolling strike

Ahead of the March 7 strike, the main federations of French unions – including the CFDT and the CGT – announced they would hold “grèves reconductibles,” or rolling strikes, meaning workers would vote at the end of each strike day whether to go ahead industrial action. That means the strike has no end date and could last days, or even weeks.

9:32am: Major trains and flights disrupted

Trains to Germany and Spain are expected to stop running on Tuesday and trains to and from the UK will be cut by a third, according to the SNCF rail authority.

In France, only one-fifth of regional and high-speed trains are expected to run, while RATP, the public transport operator in the Ile-de-France region around Paris, said there would also be significant disruption to metro lines and suburban trains, with some lines running only during peak hours.

About a fifth of flights at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and about a third at Orly were canceled.

9:05am: Roads, fuel deliveries blocked

The protests were already being felt in France as early as the early hours of Tuesday, with reports that protesters blocked several roads.

Around 100 protesters have blocked a national road in the city of Rennes since 1am, according to the public road information service.

In a tweet, the hardliner CGTunion said: “On the roads of Rennes, at the port of Gennevilliers, at the roundabouts of Rouen, at the power stations: the vigil for the March 7th strike has begun.”

Fuel deliveries to refineries across France have also come to a standstill. “Strikes are everywhere … all refinery deliveries were blocked this morning,” said Eric Sellini, a branch coordinator for the CGT, which initiated a similar blockade last fall that eventually left gas stations running out of fuel. .

9:00am: More than 1 million people expected to take to the streets

Between 1.1 million and 1.4 million people were expected to take to the streets in more than 260 locations across the country on Tuesday, according to AFP, citing police sources.

The upper end of the range would mean stronger opposition than during the previous five-day rallies since mid-January.

January 31 was the largest day of demonstrations to date, with 1.27 million people taking part.

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