Garbage Piling Up in France, As Does Pressure on Its President

Over the weekend, there were a number of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to increase the retirement age in France from 62 to 64, while the streets of Paris were filled with foul-smelling trash due to a sanitation workers’ strike.

Many towns, notably Nantes and Marseille, saw largely peaceful demonstrations. In Marseille, demonstrators managed to occupy the major railway station for around 15 minutes, while in Besancon in the East of the country, hundreds of protesters torched a brazier and burnt voter registration cards.

After two nights of turmoil in Paris, police battled to regain order. Authorities clamped down on rallies taking place on Place de la Concorde and Champs-Elysées Avenue, where protestors on Friday night burned an effigy of Macron in front of a cheering throng.

Saturday evening saw a large group of protestors gather in southern Paris’ Place d’Italie before they marched towards the continent’s largest rubbish incinerator, which has been a source of unrest.

With the loud blares of fireman sirens filling the air, some protestors burned garbage cans, and slogans such as “the streets are ours” could be heard loudly amidst the unruly chaos.

By exerting pressure on politicians in charge of laws, protesters hope to topple Macron’s administration and prevent him from enforcing the contentious retirement age rise without National Assembly approval.

No-confidence motions were filed against Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s Cabinet on Friday after Macron instructed her to use a rare constitutional provision to avoid a vote in the disorderly lower chamber. On Monday, the motions are set to be voted on.