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France pensions protests: Demonstrators storm luxury giant LVMH

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Paris (CNN) Hundreds of thousands of people took part in new demonstrations across France on Thursday over plans to raise the government’s retirement age from 62 to 64.

Paris protesters broke into luxury giant’s headquarters LVMHshares of companies that own brands such as Louis Vuitton and Moët on the day We hit a record high.

“If President Macron wants to finance his pension plan, he should come here and find it,” trade union leader Fabian Villedieu told CNN affiliate BFMTV outside the LVMH building. Told.

Multiple flare-ups occurred throughout the day.

Police halted protests before the Constitutional Council, France’s equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hand down a long-awaited ruling on the validity of a pension reform law on Friday. Protests in the area have been banned from Thursday evening until Saturday morning local time.

CNN’s team on the ground witnessed smoke bombs, projectiles and tear gas being fired and protesters getting into a violent brawl with police before a group set off red flames outside the courthouse building. .

On Thursday, striking railroad workers broke into the headquarters of French luxury group LVMH in Paris.

Protesters clash with police in Nantes, western France, April 13, 2023.

Riots also erupted on the Place de la Bastille in Paris, where riot police clashed with angry protesters.

“At least 1,000 militants who were on the front lines of the demonstration area staged acts of violence along the route and tried to disrupt the smooth progress of the demonstration,” a Paris police spokesman said.

Police were also seen charging demonstrators on Rue de Rivoli in central Paris and protecting a BHV department store.

Police have arrested 47 people in Paris and injured at least 10 police officers, according to the Paris Police Department.

About 380,000 people took part in protests across France on Thursday, 42,000 of them in Paris, according to the latest figures from the French interior ministry.

That figure is down from last week’s 11th demonstration, which drew a crowd of about 570,000.

Police expected more minor but visibly violent attacks that have characterized protests across France over the past two and a half months. It has existed since the beginning of the country’s social upheaval.

Macron pushes reforms

French President Emmanuel Macron has argued that reforms are essential to keep finances in check and is adamant this week that “the country must keep moving forward”.

Sophie Binet, the new chairman of the GGT, one of France’s leading unions, said Thursday morning at a picket line at an incinerator near Paris, saying: “Unless the pension reform is rescinded, mobilization will be in some form or another. will continue.”

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire defended the government’s pension reform plan, which he challenged to CNN on Thursday, saying: “We need to assure the French people that the fiscal balance will be stable by 2030. It’s a matter of reform,” he said.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo expressed support for the demonstrators ahead of the new protests.

Protesters enter LVMH headquarters during demonstrations against pension reform in central Paris.

“On the eve of the Constitutional Council’s decision, I again support mobilization in Paris and everywhere in France,” Hidalgo tweeted.

“This reform is unjust and violent. France has been calling for it to be repealed for months. The government must listen to them,” she wrote.

Friday’s ruling will determine whether the protests will continue. His CFDT, France’s other major union, has embraced a negotiated settlement.

A feminist activist dressed as the Rosie the Riveter icon during a demonstration in Paris on April 13, 2023.

Meanwhile, according to the CGT union, garbage collectors and incinerator workers are on strike again, and the streets of Paris are about to be littered again.

This will be a rolling strike, the general secretary of the CGT union branch confirmed in a letter to the mayor of Paris.

The last strike lasted almost a month until the end of March, and in the worst case 10,000 tons of garbage piled up in the capital.

CNN’s Dalal Mawad, Aurore Laborie, Winston Lo and Amy Cassidy contributed to this report.

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