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June 6, 2023 11:49 am

Transport services paralysed in France

Paris, March 24

Labour strikes upended travel in France on Thursday as French labour unions held their first mass demonstrations since President Emmanuel Macron inflamed public anger by forcing a higher retirement age through parliament without a vote.

Protesters blockaded train stations, Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and refineries. High-speed and regional trains, the Paris metro and public transportation systems in other major cities were disrupted. About 30 per cent of flights at Paris Orly Airport were cancelled.

Thursday’s events were the ninth round of protests and strikes called by France’s eight main unions since January. The French leader is resisting the discontent on the streets, and said on Wednesday that the government’s bill to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 must be implemented by the end of the year.

Critics attacked Macron for the statement, describing him as “self-satisfied”, “out of touch” and “offensive”.

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