France Prepares for Black Thursday as Unions Rally for Massive Anti-Macron Protest

Trade unions are planning to organize their ninth and largest protest against the change in the retirement age, which the media called “Black Thursday”, in 200 French municipalities today, Thursday, in 200 French municipalities.

In Paris, protesters are expected to march from Place de la Bastille along the boulevards to Place de l’Opéra in the afternoon, with up to 70,000 people taking part. With advice to motorists to avoid traffic in this area of ​​the city.

On the other hand, in a television interview, French President Emmanuel Macron declared his commitment to reforming the pension system, despite the protests of the unions. He stressed that the authorities “will not allow” a repetition of the riots that took place in recent days during spontaneous demonstrations in the capital and regions.

Additional Security Measures

In addition, the authorities took additional security measures ahead of the ninth wave of protests. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin ordered 5,000 police and gendarmerie to carry out their duties in the capital.

Before demonstrations, searches will be carried out to identify weapons and other prohibited items. The minister called on law enforcement agencies “not to respond to provocations”, which, according to him, could be committed by the extreme left.

The regional intelligence service of the French National Police Directorate said that up to 600 extremist elements, including “yellow vests”, could participate in the demonstrations.

Police said more than 300 police officers and gendarmes have been injured since protests against pension reform began two months ago.

In the last week alone, police have arrested 855 people for various offenses during demonstrations, 729 of them in Paris.

It is noteworthy that the procession in the capital is scheduled to end today, Thursday, after 19:00 local time (21:00 Moscow time). The unions are expected to decide at their meeting how to proceed.

Airport paralysis

With regard to air travel, the French Civil Aviation Authority, in response to strike notices received from industry unions, has ordered the cancellation of a third of flights at the capital’s Orly Airport. The number of flights offered by the airports of Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse was also reduced by 20%.

In addition, the airport authorities warned passengers about the possibility of other violations and recommended to reschedule the days of air travel.

Source: TASS

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