Paris: Over 850 protesters have been detained in France during demonstrations against the recently passed pension reform, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.
“Since Thursday, 855 people have been detained in France, including 729 in Paris. Some 843 people have been placed in custody,” Darmanin told BFMTV broadcaster.
Earlier in the day, riot police used tear gas against protesters at an oil refinery in the French city of Fos-sur-Mer in the south of the country as they tried to block access to the oil depot, 20 Minutes newspaper reported. Demonstrators reportedly gathered to support the forced-to-work strikers. Three police officers were injured in the clash, the newspaper reported.
The police also used tear gas against radical demonstrators who had gathered on the Place de la Republique in Paris after they started throwing firecrackers and glass bottles at the officers, according to a RIA Novosti correspondent.
On March 16, the French government adopted a law on raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 years without holding a final vote in the parliament, triggering Article 49.3 of the constitution, which allows the government to adopt legislation with no need for a parliamentary vote.
Since then spontaneous demonstrations against the bill have been taking place in Paris. For two days in a row, the French staged protests against the pension reform on the Place de la Concorde in Paris in front of the Palais Bourbon, the meeting place of the National Assembly. According to the interior ministry, 10,000 people gathered in front of the assembly on March 16, and 4,000 the next day.
There have already been eight nationwide strikes and hundreds of demonstrations in France within the last two months, with over 1 million people taking part in most of them. During the protests, clashes often broke out between the police and protesters.
According to Darmanin, the ninth nationwide demonstration will take place in France on March 23, to which 12,000 police officers will be deployed, with 5,000 in Paris. The minister noted that over 300 police officers had been injured during the two months of protests against the reform.