PARIS (AP) – France is preparing for a fourth round of nationwide protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to reform pensions on Saturday, but this time the strikes will not affect transport services, allowing trains and the Paris metro to run.
Demonstrators are expected in the hundreds of thousands.
Earlier this week, French MPs began a heated debate on a pension law to raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64. It is the flagship law of Macron’s second term.
On the last day of the protests, four days ago, more than 750,000 people marched in Paris, the cities of Nice, Marseille, Toulouse, Nantes and elsewhere, according to the Interior Ministry. However, it was significantly less than the previous two protest days in January when over a million people took to the streets. Tuesday’s strike breaks were also milder than those on January 31.
The protests are a key test for both Macron and his opponents. The government insisted it was determined to push through Macron’s campaign pledge to reform France’s generous pension system. But strong popular outrage will bolster efforts by unions and left-leaning lawmakers to try to block the bill.