Paris is on fire! Protests against pension reform continue unabated in France

Protesters in Paris seized the office of the US investment company BlackRock and set it, as well as Macron’s favorite cafe,  on fire

On April 6, the French held an eleventh nationwide strike against the pension law reform. More than half a million French people went on strike across the country.

On March 16, 2023, French Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne officially confirmed the adoption of the high-profile law. According to it, the retirement age in France in 2023 will be raised from 62 to 64 years. The law has already been passed, and this year will be the starting point for its practical application: people of retirement age will only be able to retire at 62 years and 3 months.

One of the largest demonstrations took place in Paris. The demonstration began at 2:00 p.m. local time.

The fighters for their rights marched along the Boulevard Raspail. It goes from north to south and connects Boulevard Saint-Germain with Place Denfer-Rochereau. Boulevard Raspail was opened to citizens in 1887 and is named after the great French chemist, physician, and politician François-Vincent Raspail.

Let’s follow the course of the demonstrators along this famous boulevard with a Rossa Primavera News Agency‘s correspondent.

Paris, the beginning of the march

The demonstration began at 244 Boulevard Raspail. The protesters stretched their banner and called on passersby to join the protest: Unis contre la reforme des retraites (“United Against Pension Reform”).

Paris, 244 Boulevard Raspail

Police cars blocked the aisles for the protesters to follow a strictly defined route. A huge column of protesters can be seen in the background.

Demonstrators marched at the intersection of Blanca and Glacier streets (near Piazza Italia).

Paris, Republican Security Corps

The Republican Security Corps or CRS (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité), a French special police unit designed to suppress riots, are involved in providing security.

The CRS actually followed the demonstrators. The CRS was positioned sideways on neighboring streets, lining up in rows, so that sometimes it was even possible to get between two rows of CRS.

Paris, Boulevard Saint-Jacques

The protesters ask passersby: Shouldn’t the government have been “swept under the rug?” Then they say they should have.

You can see the smoke in the background. On April 6, Paris was ablaze and covered with smoke because of the ongoing protests against pension reform.


Riots and clashes with police broke out during the demonstration.

Paris, CRS is gathering its forces

As a result, police officers used tear gas and grenade launchers with rubber bombs. Several of these grenades hit a group of photographers covering the riots.

Paris, young people smash fences

The demonstration followed from the top of Boulevard Saint-Jacques, between Denver and Piazza d’Italia.


Most of the demonstrators protested peacefully.


On Raspail Boulevard, the police keep the demonstrators on the selected route.

Paris, Boulevard Raspail

Students performed their own version of the Soviet song Katyusha during their march.


Red flag! Students and professors! Protesters smash billboards that disfigure the city.


Raspail Corner and Montparnasse. A procession of students, teaching staff, and professors.


During protests against pension reform on April 6, French President Macron’s favorite restaurant was set on fire. The marquee of La Rotonde establishment was briefly engulfed in flames.


The institution is known for the fact that the President of France has often been here, in 2017 it was there he celebrated his victory in the elections.


Provocateurs in the crowd of protesters attacked the restaurant, smashed the windows, and set fire to the marquee of the outdoor veranda with pyrotechnics. The firefighters, under police cover, quickly battled the fire.


On April 6, police used batons and special means to disperse protesters in Paris.


Protesters demanded not only to withdraw the latest pension law reform but also to reduce the retirement age to 60.


The poster reads Retraite 60 ans Macron Demission – “Retirement at 60, Macron to resign.”

In the crowd of protesters, there was also a poster related to financing the war and reforms.


Les Milliards pour nos facs, nos lycees, nos retraites, pas pour la guerre! – “Billions for our universities, for our high schools, for our pensions, not for the war!”

The protesters sang and actively chanted. The procession was very lively and energetic, as Rossa Primavera News Agency’s correspondent noted.

According to the Interior Ministry, some 370 protests were held in the country, which were attended by about 570,000 people, including 57,000 in Paris. Security was provided by 11,500 police and gendarmerie officers and 4,200 in the capital.

Protesters seized the Grand Theater in Bordeaux. The strikers who broke into the theater themselves sang songs to Macron: “Emmanuel Macron, if you keep up the pension reform, your house will be dark!”

In Paris, protesters seized the office of the US investment company BlackRock and set it, Macron’s favorite cafe, on fire.

The protests continue…

Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency