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France: Tear gas fired at demonstrators in Nantes

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — On Thursday, French police fired tear gas canisters at protesters gathered in the city of Nantes (west) to protest against a draft law to reform the pension system.

The French “BFM” television network published video clips showing police officers trying to disperse the demonstrators in one of the main streets of the city using gas bombs.

Trade unions called for Wednesday be a “new strike day across the country” against pension reforms proposed by President Emmanuel Macron’s government.

Today, Thursday, is the 36th gathering since the protests against pension reforms began last December.

Since December 5, the National Railways Company (SNCF) and the National Transport Company have been implementing a strike that paralyzed the movement in the country, in protest of the law, making it the longest strike in the country’s history since 1986.

The controversial bill aims to distinguish between employees and workers in retirement, revoke concessions, and gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, negatively affecting scores of sectors.

The pension system is a highly sensitive topic in France, where the population remains attached to a distribution-based pension system, and is considered one of the most secure systems for workers in the world.

The new points system, which the government wants to integrate into the 42 existing systems, includes special systems that allow train drivers to retire early.

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