French police have attacked Yellow Vests protesters, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of demonstrators, who took to the streets to denounce French President Emmanuel Macron’s economic policies and pension reform.
France’s protest movement, the Yellow Vests (Gilet Jaunes) mobilized in the Paris area from Breteuil Square in the 7th arrondissement in the direction of Bercy Boulevard in the 12th arrondissement, where the Ministry of Finance is located.
The movement protested against the rising inflation and the government’s plans to push forward pension reform starting the Summer of 2023, which will rise the retirement age from 62 to 65.
Footage from the demonstrations showed french forces firing tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators.
“We went out today for the sake of all the French who are dying of hunger because of the high prices that they can no longer afford,” Jamal Bouaban, a member of the Yellow Vests movement, said, vowing to organize more demonstrations.
Yellow Vests protesters were also witnessed holding banners reading ‘Climate emergency and social peace,’ ‘Macron, Resignation,’ and ‘Macron and the CAC 40 want war. Let’s fight.’
“Most of these people work, but they are exploited. They are people who can be in precarious situations and who have allowances that do not allow them to survive,” Josiane, one of the protesters, said.
The Yellow Vests movement, which started in France on November 17, 2018, in response to fuel price hikes and deteriorating economic conditions, continues with protests against a range of social and political issues.
Protests are often accompanied by riots and clashes with the police, with French police violence against protesters and journalists occurring on numerous occasions.
Meanwhile, doctors (general practitioners and doctors of other specialties) in France have staged a two-week-long strike to demand an increase in the consultation fee and better working conditions, paralyzing the healthcare delivery system across the country.
The strike has now been extended to January 8 with a protest march set for Thursday in central Paris.
Doctors in France complain about overcrowded hospitals amid epidemics of influenza, coronavirus, and bronchiolitis in the country. The number of patients has increased in emergency departments, causing long waiting times.
The French healthcare system is facing an unprecedented crisis. Last summer, medical workers staged a nationwide strike, demanding higher wages and denouncing the healthcare policies adopted by the government.
The fight with the government for better wages comes as France has been grappling with rising inflation amid worsening economic conditions.
Philippe Martinez, head of the General Confederation of Labour (CGT), France’s leading trade union, has lately warned that France will see a wave of mass strikes in early 2023 if the government does not roll back its pension reform.
Similar strikes have also hit other European countries, including the United Kingdom, in recent months amid a cost-of-living crisis and surging inflation reaching 11 percent.
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