Tens of thousands of people are protesting across France for a second time this month against a government proposal to raise the retirement age.
Huge crowds marched through cities to denounce a reform that would raise the retirement age by two years to 64 and poses a test of President Emmanuel Macron’s ability to push through his policies.
Striking workers disrupted French refinery deliveries, public transport and schools on Tuesday. The leading CGT union said on Tuesday that half a million people were protesting in Paris alone.
Labour unions and left-wing legislators in parliament are counting on protesters to turn out in large numbers to strengthen their efforts to kill the bill after Macron lost his working majority in parliament.
A first round of strikes and protests on January 19 brought out an estimated one million to two million demonstrators, including tens of thousands in Paris.
The government has mobilised 11,000 officers to handle the protests.
Positions are hardening on both sides as lawmakers begin locking horns in parliament over the government’s retirement reform bill.
On Monday, Macron described the reform as “essential”. His prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, insisted at the weekend that raising the retirement age to 64 is “no longer negotiable”.
Opinion polls show a substantial majority of the French oppose the reform, but Macron intends to stand his ground.