By Abimbola Ogunnaike
At least 782,000 people participated in this year’s International Workers’ Day protests across France, the country’s Interior Ministry said Monday, 1 May, 2023.
The protests took place amid social tensions caused by the government forcing passage of a controversial pension reform bill; last year, only 116,500 people took to the streets on Monday, 1 May, 2023.
Like recent nationwide mobilizations against the pension reforms, Monday’s protests turned violent in major cities including Paris, Lyon, and Marseille.
According to French interior minister Gerald Darmanin, at least 108 police and gendarmes were injured during the protests. One police officer suffered burns to the face and arms when a Molotov cocktail was launched by a protestor in Paris.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne condemned the violence against security forces. “The scenes of violence on the sidelines of the marches are unacceptable,” she said on social media.
On April 14, France’s Constitutional Council ruled that the legal retirement age would be gradually raised from 62 to 64 by 2030.
Borne had first presented details of the pension reform plan in January. Along with raising the retirement age, the reform also introduces a guaranteed minimum pension, and from 2027 onwards at least 43 years of work would be required to be eligible for a full pension.