The French capital is experiencing another night of unrest as rioters and police clash over President Emmanuel Macron’s contentious pension reforms.
These reforms have sparked outrage, leading to widespread protests and disruptions throughout Paris.
The proposed bill, which aims to raise the retirement age, was pushed through parliament, causing a no confidence vote against Macron’s government to be initiated.
Paris is now witnessing its second day of protests, with clashes between demonstrators and the police escalating.
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin reported that 310 people were arrested overnight, with the majority of arrests occurring in Paris.
Protests on Thursday turned violent, with police deploying a water cannon to disperse crowds at the Place de Concorde.
Protesters gathered at the public square, setting a cardboard effigy of Macron on fire while chanting for his resignation.
Images of tear gas and water cannons being used by the police to control crowds have been broadcasted by Reuters TV, showing the tense situation in the city.
Riot police are stationed to block paths leading from the Place de la Concorde to the National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament.
Opposition lawmakers have submitted a no confidence motion against Macron’s government following the controversial bill’s passage through parliament.
Bertrand Pancher, head of a left-wing independent parliamentary group, expressed that the motion would help resolve the ongoing political crisis.
Protests have intensified in the streets of Paris, with disruptions to traffic, cars and barricades set ablaze, and interruptions to rubbish collection and university campuses.
Demonstrations have spread to other French cities, with several thousand people participating in protests and trade unions urging workers to block a Paris ring road temporarily.
Macron’s decision to force the bill through parliament has been met with widespread criticism from political opponents, labor unions, and the general public.
The no confidence vote is expected to take place early next week. Over 80% of people are dissatisfied with the government’s decision to bypass a parliamentary vote, and 65% support the continuation of strikes and protests, according to a Toluna Harris Interactive poll.
On Thursday, thousands protested at the Place de la Concorde, facing the National Assembly building.
As night fell, police charged demonstrators to clear the area, with small groups setting fires in nearby streets.
Similar scenes unfolded in cities like Rennes, Nantes, Lyon, and Marseille, where shop windows and bank fronts were damaged.
Trade unions organizing strikes and marches against the higher retirement age have announced more rallies and protest marches in the coming days.
Macron’s pension reform plan is a key priority of his second term, as he believes it will make the French economy more competitive and prevent the pension system from entering a deficit.