France pension protests: Kevin Hassett breaks down controversial pension reform bill
Former White House economist Kevin Hassett weighs in as Paris protests continue over hiking retirement age on ‘Your World.’
French President Emmanuel Macron is refusing to budge on his government upping the retirement age to 64, prompting hundreds of thousands of French citizens to take to the streets in protests that turned violent at times on Thursday.
Tourist hot spots like the Eiffel Tower and the Versailles Palace closed down amid the demonstrations as travel was disrupted at regional train stations and airports across the country.
The national trade union General Confederation of Labor said that 3.5 million French citizens attended protests on Thursday, while officials estimated that 1.08 million people took to the streets, according to France 24.
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A protester holds a banner reading ‘Macron do what I do, tax your friends’ during a demonstration, a week after the government pushed a pensions reform through parliament without a vote. (JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images)
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STRASBOURG, FRANCE – MARCH 23: Protesters stage a demonstration after the government pushed a pension reform through parliament without a vote. (Sathiri Kelpa/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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This photograph shows the destroyed entrance of the Administratice courthouse of Nantes during a demonstration on March 23, 2023. (LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)
About 12,000 security forces were deployed to French streets, including 5,000 in Paris.
Protesters clashed with police at times as the demonstrations turned violent, with several hundred protesters dressed in black smashing windows and street furniture, according to Agence France-Presse. Multiple convenience stores and a McDonald’s were damaged in Paris.
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Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that there were “many injured police officers.”
“These acts cannot go unpunished,” Darmanin tweeted.
The protests began in January when Macron, the 45-year-old centrist president in his second term, announced that his government would increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 years old to keep pensions funded.
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Riot police scuffle with a protester during a rally in Paris, Thursday, March 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
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PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 23: Riot police arrest a protester during clashes in a demonstration against the government after pushing pensions reforms. (Firas Abdullah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 23: Riot police drag their fainted colleague during clashes with demonstrators. (Firas Abdullah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 23: Demonstrators set fire during a protest against the government after pushing the pensions reform without a vote using article 49.3 of the constitution. (Firas Abdullah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Anger intensified earlier this month after Macron said that he would pass the pension reform using a special constitutional power without a vote by the National Assembly.
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Macron said Wednesday that he wants the reform finalized by the end of the year and urged calm among protesters, referencing violent demonstrations in other Western countries.
“When the United States of America lived what they lived at the Capitol, when Brazil lived what it lived, when you have seen extreme violence in Germany, the Netherlands, or sometimes here at home in the past… we must say that we do respect (peaceful protesters), we do listen, we’re trying to move the country forward,” Macron said Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Paul Best is a breaking news reporter for Fox News Digital and Fox Business. Story tips and ideas can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @KincaidBest.