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Paris: Demonstrators against pension reforms shut down the Louvre

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS)

On Friday, demonstrators against France’s pension system reforms closed the entrance to the Louvre Museum in the capital, Paris, in the first closure of its kind the museum has seen since the protests began last December.

Hundreds of demonstrators, including employees of the museum, gathered in front of the Louvre entrance, in response to a call by several left-wing trade unions against the changes that President Emmanuel Macron plans to introduce into the pension system, which they said would “cut everyone’s pensions,” Associated Press reported.

During the demonstration, protesters raised expressions denouncing the bill, including “The Mona Lisa began the strike”, referring to the famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.

“In the heart of the Louvre pyramid, where the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron chose to be installed, a trade union front was formed against his disastrous tendencies regarding retirement,” union coordinating opposition to the government project said in a statement.

It is noteworthy that the Louvre Museum is visited by about 30 thousand visitors daily, according to the same source.

In the context, the unions called for new moves on 22 and 23, especially January 24, which is the day the bill on pension systems is presented to the Cabinet.

About 187,000 people participated on Thursday, the sixth day of the nationwide protest against reform, according to the Interior Ministry.

While 452 thousand people participated in similar demonstrations last Friday.

Since December 5, 2019, 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 on retirement, and to cancel benefits.

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.

And last week, the government even responded to the demand of unions and abandoned the gradual restoration of an incentive system that urged retirement at the age of 64, rather than the legal age of 62.

The Prime Minister withdrew this measure “temporarily” in exchange for organizing a “financing conference” that will, until the end of April, find ways to guarantee financial balance in 2027.

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.

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