15+ MILLION activists protest in France!

19 January

Demonstration against the pension reforms unveiled by French government, Sens.

On 19 January, the Ministry of the Interior counted 1.12 million demonstrators, including 80,000 in Paris.[17] Over 200 demonstrations were reported in the country.[18]

More than one million people took to the streets in Paris and other French towns as part of countrywide protests over proposals to raise the retirement age.[19] Eight of the largest unions participated in the strike over pension reforms.[20] The French Ministry of the Interior said that 80,000 demonstrators gathered in the streets in Paris, where small numbers threw bottles, rocks, and fireworks at riot police.[20] Over 200 demonstrations were reported in the country.[18] According to the unions, 2 million people took part in the demonstrations with 400,000 of them participating in the Paris demonstrations.[19]

Despite the demonstrations, Emmanuel Macron emphasized that the pension reforms would go forward. French unions declared that further strikes and protests would be held on 31 January in an effort to halt the government’s plans to raise the standard retirement age from 62 to 64.[19] The new law would increase annual pension contributions, from 41 to 43 payments throughout the year.[21] Some flights out of Orly Airport were canceled, while the Eurostar website reported the cancellation of many routes between Paris and London. Though “a few delays” were reported at Charles de Gaulle Airport, owing to striking air traffic controllers, no flights were canceled.[20]

Reims on 19 January.

CityAccording to the policeAccording to the unions
(18,000 to 20,000 according to media sources)

21 January[edit]

Paris on 21 January.

Another demonstration was organized in Paris on 21 January, supposedly long-planned by students and youth organisations.[38]

Demonstrations organized by different groups took place in other cities, like in Dinan,[39] Limoges[40] and Lyon.[41]

31 January[edit]

Demonstration in Bordeaux on 31 January.

Demonstrations were organized around the country with public transport, schools, and electricity production specifically targeted by the strikes. Public television broadcasters were also affected by the strikes, with news broadcasts cancelled and music played instead.[42]

According to the CGT union, 2.8 million people took part in the protests while the Ministry of Internal Affairs counted 1.272 million protesters.[17]

CityAccording to the policeAccording to the unions

7 February[edit]

On 7 February, a third day of national protests were held after being called by l’intersyndicale. According to the CGT, 400,000 people demonstrated in Paris, down 100,000 from the 31 of January. In total, over 2,000,000 strikers participated in demonstrations according to the CGT, while the police estimate that around 757,000 strikers participated in protests.[43]

11 February[edit]

On 11 February, a fourth day of national protests was held. According to the CGT, over 2,500,000 protestors took part in demonstrations, a rise of 500,000 compared to 7 February, while the Ministry of the Interior claims that 963,000 protested, a rise of over 200,000 compared to 7 February. In Paris, over 500,000 people demonstrated against the reform according to the CGT, while 93,000 demonstrated according to the prefecture. The Intersyndicale called for recurring strikes starting on 7 March. [44]

16 February[edit]

On 16 February, protesters joined fresh rallies and strikes. Unions said some 1.3 million people participated nationwide Thursday, the lowest figure since the protest movement started on January 19. The interior ministry put the national figure at 440,000, down from nearly a million on Saturday (11 Feb). On the day, 30 percent of flights from Paris’s Orly airport were cancelled.[45]

7 March[edit]

Auch (Occitania) on 11 March.

In early March, trains around the country continued to be affected by strikes and protests. It is believed that 1.1 to 1.4 million people participated in over 260 protests across the country. As a part of the protest, union members blocked fuel deliveries from being made, with the intention of bringing the French economy to its knees.[46]

11–12 March[edit]

On Saturday, 11 March, the seventh day of protests was held in response to the National Assembly and Senate debating the draft law, with a final vote expected that month. Macron twice declined meetings with unions that week. About 368,000 people protested, below the 800,000–1,000,000 expected. The following day, the Senate passed an initial vote by 195–112.[47][48]

15 March[edit]

Montauban (Occitania) on 15 March.

200 protests were reported to have taken place across the country.[49] There were conflicting numbers of the strength of the protests; the Interior Ministry reported 480,000 marched throughout the country, with 37,000 in Paris, while CGT counted 1.78m and 450,000 respectively.[50] Figures from Le Monde dispute both these claims.[51] Reportedly, French police expected 650,000–850,000 protesters nationwide, fewer than the largest protests the previous week, with preliminary figures demonstrating a lower strike turnout in the energy and transport sectors at midday compared to previous days.[50]

Among those who were on strike were train drivers, school teachers, dock workers, oil refinery workers, as well as garbage collectors continuing their now ten-day strike action.[49]

In the afternoon, protesters gathered at the Esplanade des Invalides,[50] with “loud music and huge union balloons”. Police had ordered that the build-up of rubbish to be “cleared out along the march route” after some “used garbage to start fires or throw trash at police in recent demonstrations”. The marchers were “accompanied by a heavy security force” as they “moved through the Left Bank along unencumbered streets”. Police reported that one group of protestors “attacked a small business”, and that nine people were detained within three hours of the march beginning.[49] The protestors’ march ended at the Place d’Italie. Known as “Greve 15 mars”, it was co-ordinated and organised by eight trade unions.[50]

The front of the march organised by multiple trade unions on 15 March.

Liquefied natural gas operations were suspended,[50] with public transport severely affected; it was stated that 40% of high-speed trains and half the regional trains were cancelled, with the Paris Metro running slower. The DGAC warned of delays, reporting that 20% of the flights at Paris-Orly airport were cancelled.[49]

Elsewhere, in Rennes, Nantes, and Lyon, “[s]ecurity forces countered violence with charges and tear gas”, according to French media.[49] Demonstrations also took place in Le Havre in Normandy, and Nice.[52]

PBS reported that Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin had asked Paris City Hall to force some of the garbage workers to return to work, calling the build-up along the streets a “a public health issue”. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said that she supported the strike, and in response a government spokesman Olivier Véran declared that if she did not comply, the Interior Ministry would be “ready to act instead”.[49]


MARCH 23, 2023 – More than 1 million demonstrate across France – Associated Press

%d bloggers like this: