French protests: Police in Paris pepper spray protesters as two no-confidence motions are tabled against Macron | world news

Paris police sprayed young protesters near the Sorbonne University as two motions of no confidence were tabled against French President Emmanuel Macron.

A motion of censure came from the National Rally of Marine Le Pen’s party and was signed by 88 deputies from all parties.

Another group of independent politicians presented a second motion which was signed by 91 deputies from five parliamentary groups.

The political developments come as increasingly tense protests swept across France today.

Thousands of people took to the streets in a second day of nationwide protests against Macron’s decision to force through parliament a bill to raise the retirement age of 62 to 64 without a vote.

Protesters blocked traffic, bin collections came to a halt and students left classes after Mr Macron ordered Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to use a special constitutional power known as Article 49.3 to impose the controversial reform of the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament.

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Protesters near the National Assembly

This morning, the Paris ring road – the main ring road around the capital – was disrupted at nearly 200 points during rush hour, according to French media.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Friday that 310 people had been arrested during yesterday’s protests, including 258 in Paris.

Mr Macron’s risky strategy has infuriated unions, opposition politicians and many citizens.

Opposition parties were due to begin the process of a vote of no confidence in the government later on Friday.

The vote is expected to take place next week.

Leftist MPs hold signs and sing the Marseillaise, the French national anthem, as French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne arrives to deliver a speech on the pension reform bill at the National Assembly in Paris, France , March 16, 2023. REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol
MPs hold signs and sing the Marseillaise, the French national anthem

The controversial reform has prompted strikes across the country since January, but the increasingly chaotic political situation has sparked immense anger.

Demonstrators of the gilets jaunes, or yellow vests – the protest group that has repeatedly crippled France in recent years – are also expected to take to the streets later.

Outside Europe’s largest waste incinerator, garbage collectors insisted they would step up strikes to force the government to back down.

A woman walks past piles of garbage bags on a street as overflowing rubbish was not collected due to a garbage collectors' strike against the French government's pension reform, in Paris, France, March 17, 2023. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
The streets are overflowing with rubbish. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Collectors had voted to continue their strike action until at least March 20, France Info reported.

More than 9,000 tons of waste have not been collected in Paris since the start of the strike.

“I call, and the CGT union calls, for a massive movement and a massive strike by the workers,” said CGT union representative Régis Vieceli.

“It’s the only thing that will set them back. We have to hit them financially. When they start to see the financial impact, they will cry on Macron’s shoulder.”


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