Fourth day of pension reform protests to hit France

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France is bracing itself for a fourth round of nationwide protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to reform pensions Saturday, but strikes will not hit transport services this time, allowing trains and the Paris Metro to run.

Protesters are expected in the hundreds of thousands.

Earlier this week, French lawmakers began a rowdy debate on the pension bill to raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64. It’s the flagship legislation of Macron’s second term.

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The last day of protests, four days ago, saw over 750,000 people marching in Paris, the cities of Nice, Marseille, Toulouse, Nantes and elsewhere, according to the interior ministry.

However, that represented significantly fewer than on the previous two protest days in January in which over a million people took to the streets. Tuesday’s strike disruptions were also milder than those of January 31.

The protests are a crucial test both for Macron and his opponents. The government has insisted it’s determined to push through Macron’s election pledge to reform France’s generous pension system. But strong popular resentment will strengthen efforts by labor unions and left-wing legislators to try to block the bill.

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