Protesters blocked the streets of Paris with fires and clashed with riot police after French President Emmanuel Macron successfully passed a controversial pension reform without a vote.
Images from the French capital and across the country show dissidents smashing windows and getting pepper spray between burning piles of rubbish.
A strike by garbage collectors in response to the proposals has lasted 15 days, causing bins to overflow and rubbish to pile up in the streets.
The pension law, which raises the retirement age in France from 62 to 64, becomes law after the government survives two no-confidence votes.
The first motion, introduced by a coalition of centrist MPs, had 278 votes but needed 287 to pass — meaning the president came within nine votes to name a new government or call new elections.
A second application from the right-wing extremist party Rallye National also failed by a much larger margin.
Since both preventive measures have failed, a law is passed to raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 64.
News of the failed vote sparked more fierce anti-government protests in Paris, where demonstrations have been held since the president said he would bypass the National Assembly to pass the reforms.
There was also anger in parliament. When the results of the first motion were read out, MPs from the left-wing opposition held up notes reading “We continue”, “Meeting in the street” and “RIP”.
Far-left politician Mathilde Panot said: “Only nine votes are missing… to overthrow both the government and its reforms.
“The government is already dead in the eyes of the French, it no longer has any legitimacy.”
MP Charles de Courson, whose centrist allies introduce the first vote of no confidence, said: “How can we accept such contempt for Parliament?
“How can we accept such terms to explore a text that will have a lasting impact on the lives of millions of our fellow citizens?”
While anger over the issue has been simmering since the proposals were announced, it boiled over last week when Mr Macron urged Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne to invoke a special constitutional power called Article 49:3 to make a to demand a preventive vote.
The measure essentially allows the French government to pass a bill without the approval of the National Assembly after deliberation at a cabinet meeting.
However, it also allows MPs to table a vote of no confidence, which would mean rejecting the text and forcing the government to resign.
Macron’s maneuvers were necessary after the president lost his parliamentary majority in last year’s elections.
He has argued that the reforms are necessary to prevent France’s aging pension system from becoming unaffordable.
The first motion, which had the only chance of passing, was thwarted by the conservative Republican Party’s decision not to support it.
Group leader Olivier Marleix said: “We recognize the need for reforms to save our pension system and protect the purchasing power of retirees.”
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