Paris, Europe Brief News – A new wave of anger is scheduled to sweep the country over President Emmanuel Macron‘s plans to reform pensions.
Nationwide strikes and protests will cause widespread disruption in transport, schools and other public services.
Union-led protesters came out for mass demonstrations for the second time in less than two weeks, hoping to force Macron to drop his plan to raise the age of retirement from 62 to 64, a flagship reform of his second mandate in power.
A police source said the authorities were bracing for up to 1.2 million people to take to the streets across the country.
If confirmed, the number could exceed the 1.1 million who came out on January 19 against the proposed shake-up — already the largest protests since the last major round of pension reform in 2010.
“We hope to be at least that many again,” the boss of the hard-left CGT union, Philippe Martinez, told media Tuesday, adding there would be 250 protest marches.
But Macron has shown no sign of stepping back, insisting on Monday that the reform is “essential” to “save our system” of pensions distribution.
Some 11,000 police were mobilised, with 4,000 deployed in Paris where several hundred extremist troublemakers were expected, according to the interior ministry.
The first marches kicked off at 10:00 am (0900 GMT), with several prominent opposition politicians taking part.