Brasserie ignite in flames amidst Paris riots
A restaurant loved by Emmanuel Macron is in flames after it was targeted by angry protestors against the French President’s pensions reforms. Dramatic images show La Rotonde burning as plumes of black smoke billow across the skies of the French capital of Paris.
Macron famously dined in the Parisien brasserie with his friends and supporters to celebrate getting through to the second round of the presidential elections in 2017.
Protests in the French city have turned violent as talks between trade union leaders and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne broke up on Wednesday without a breakthrough, setting the stage for protesters’ return to the streets.
Furious protestors have clashed with police in violent scenes, as hundreds and thousands take to the streets to demand Macron change his proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
Shocking video footage also shows flares being shot at police who have been seen surrounded by rioters.
It comes as French railway workers armed with flares invaded US financial company BlackRock in Paris on Thursday.
Strikers again closed the Eiffel Tower, while 100 demonstrators blocked a road leading to Terminal 1 at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport on Thursday morning and entered the terminal building.
The airport said flights were unaffected, but travelers towing their luggage had to weave their way past flag-waving protesters.
Mounds of up to 10,000 tons of trash have piled up on the streets of Paris during a weekslong strike by sanitation workers over a plan that would push their retirement age from 57 to 59 – lower than the national age because their jobs are physically harder.
Jerome Villier, a 43-year-old doctoral researcher in Paris, said: “People are angry. It’s obvious.”
The pensions law needs a green light from the Constitutional Council on April 14.
While the council is meant to rule on purely constitutional grounds, experts say it tends to take public opinion into account.
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Dominique Andolfatto, professor of political sciences at the University of Burgundy, said: “Polls still show that an overwhelming majority of the French are against the pension reforms, so one likely scenario is that the council could scrap parts of the bill.
“There’s a certain hatred in the air that we’ve rarely seen against a French leader. This is uncharted water.”
The French unions have decried their talks with Prime Minister Borne as a “failure” after she was unwilling to discuss dropping the pension age down from 64.
Cyril Chabanier, who met the Prime Minister on behalf of the country’s eight main unions, talked with Borne for barely an hour, it was reported.
He said: “It’s clearly a failure when the prime minister won’t even allow a way in to that discussion.”
Last month, Elisabeth Borne used a special constitutional power called Article 49:3 to thrust in the pension reforms without a vote.
A vote of no-confidence was tabled but it fell short of the 287 votes it needed.
Some of Macron’s most vocal critics in French politics have called for the President to be impeached, including Eurosceptic François Asselineau.
Asselineau called for the National Assembly members to enact the “removal procedure” to kick him out of office.
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