French protests continue over gov't pension reform bill
PARIS, March 29: Some 740,000 people took to the streets in France on Tuesday in renewed protests against the government's pension reform bill, the French interior ministry said.
However, France's largest union, the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), estimates the number of protesters was much higher than the official figure. According to the CGT, more than 2 million people nationwide took part in Tuesday's demonstrations.
Most of the protests were peaceful, although participants wearing black balaclavas looted a supermarket in Paris.
The Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles showed their solidarity with the protests by remaining closed to visitors.
The major trade unions have already scheduled the 11th general mobilization for April 6.
However, since two no-confidence motions against the French government failed to gain a majority in the National Assembly on Monday, the reform bill is considered as adopted without a vote in the lower house of parliament.
French President Emmanuel Macron said last Wednesday that the reform should become law "before the end of the year."
Under the reform, the legal retirement age would be progressively raised by three months a year from 62 to 64 by 2030, and a guaranteed minimum pension would be introduced. At least 43 years of work would be required to be eligible for a full pension.