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Pension reform protests: videos of diners go viral as protesters set fire to the streets in France

It seems that the French they are adopting a very laissez faire in the face of fierce nationwide protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms. At least that is what is perceived on social networks, after dozens of videos showing diners drinking wine and eating in peace while the city burns around them went viral.

In a video that reached more than six million views, a group of people can be seen in a restaurant in Paris with tables on the sidewalk, drinking wine and chatting while a fire makes small explosions just a few meters away.

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“New trend… aperitif and brazier trash can… So Chic!” Wrote the user who posted the video.

Another viral video shows a group of diners inside a restaurant while intense flames from the violent demonstrations can be seen through the windows.

“Everything’s fine”, users commented with irony. “Welcome to France!”.

France has been submerged since January in a strong social conflict that worsened on March 16, when French President Emmanuel Macron decided to adopt by decree the delay of the retirement age from 62 to 64 years by 2030.

Since its final adoption four days later, the government has tried to move forward on other issues, closing the chapter on this reform, although the increasingly harsh demonstrations continue with more than a million people in the streets.

“The pension law was left behind”the government spokesman, Olivier Véran, reiterated this Monday at a time when the government is looking for ways to calm the situation and draw a roadmap focused on the next projects.

However, the emblematic Louvre Museum in Paris was closed to the public this Monday because its workers participated in the wave of protests. Dozens of Louvre employees blocked the entrance, causing the museum to close temporarily.

Dock workers stand before a burning barricade next to the port of Marseille, in southern France, Wednesday, March 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters carried banners and flags in front of the famous Louvre pyramid. Some tourists expressed their opinion about the closure of the museum.

“If you strongly believe that this will bring any change, there are many other things that we can see in Paris,” said Britney Tate, a 29-year-old doctoral student from California. But Karma Carden, a tourist from Fort Myers, Florida, said “to do this today is just heartbreaking.”

Also this Monday, the leader of the main French union conditioned the acceptance of the outstretched hand of the Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, on her leaving aside her unpopular pension reform, in the midst of social conflict.

“If the outstretched hand is to rediscuss work and pensions, and put the reform aside for the moment (…) If these two issues are on the table, we will discuss,” said Laurent Berger, of the CFDT reformist union, on the chain French 2.

In an interview with AFP on Sunday, the prime minister said be “at the disposal” of the political parties, unions and groups to “calm things down”, but stressing at the same time that the reform “will continue its course”.

On Friday, a day after the massive protests turned into riots with almost half a thousand detainees, Berger asked Macron to “pause” the reform, although the president replied that it had to continue its “democratic path”.

This reform, key to his second term until 2027, faces the appeals presented by the opposition before the Constitutional Council, which must now rule on its validity before the French president can promulgate it.

Meanwhile, the unions, which accuse the government of ignoring popular rejection of their project, plan to continue the protests and have called for a national strike and demonstration on Tuesday.

With information from AFP and AP

Source: Elcomercio

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