Macron raises retirement age from 62 to 64, sparking riots across France
03/21/2023 // Belle Carter // Views

French President Emmanuel Macron raised the retirement age in France from 62 to 64. This did not sit well with many citizens, who promptly took to the streets to decry the move.

The president's March 16 edict came to fruition through a special constitutional edict. He ordered French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to invoke Article 49.3 of the French Constitution, which gives the executive branch the power to override a legislative vote. Had the article not been invoked, the largely unpopular bill would have been shot down by the National Assembly – France's counterpart of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Macron's administration defended his decision to raise the retirement age, saying that it is necessary to keep the French economy competitive and to prevent the pension program from going into a deficit. The president had told cabinet ministers that "the financial risks were too great" had National Assembly members rejected the proposal, according to the Guardian. (Related: The end of retirement: Baby boomers working through their golden years.)

Members of the radical leftist party France Unbowed sang the French national anthem "La Marseillaise" while Borne was announcing the order. This prompted the legislative session to be temporarily suspended due to the loud singing that drowned out the prime minister's voice. "We cannot bet on the future of our pensions and this reform is necessary," Borne managed to say amid jeers.

Shortly after Borne's March 16 announcement, thousands gathered at the Place de la Concorde in the center of Paris. Police fired tear gas and water cannons at the crowd to disperse them, and the protesters retaliated by throwing cobblestones. A report by Le Figaro said 120 people were arrested in the French capital, while one police officer was injured.


Spontaneous protests against the raised retirement age also broke out in different parts of France. Agence France-Presse reported that several stores were looted in Marseille, and there were clashes between protesters and security forces in the cities of Nantes, Rennes and Lyon.

Macron survives no-confidence vote

On March 17, a day after the raised retirement age was announced, protesters took to the streets once more – with more than 300 people arrested. In spite of this, the demonstrators remained adamant.

Regis Vieceli, a representative for the CGT trade union, told the Associated Press: "We are not going to stop." He argued that strikes and protests are "the only way that we will get them to back down."

Opposition politicians at the National Assembly called for a vote of no confidence in the government. If the vote succeeds, the bill will be terminated and Macron will be forced to resign. If it fails, the bill will become law.

No vote of no confidence has passed since 1962, and the vote against Macron raising the retirement age did not succeed as it fell nine votes short of the 287 votes required in the lower chamber. Following the failure of the no-confidence vote, political opposition and labor union leaders vowed new legislation alongside more protests and strikes.

Watch this video showing the current situation in France following protests against the increased retirement age.

This video is from the Cynthia's Pursuit of Truth channel on

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