French pension protesters occupy finance firm, torch restaurant favored by Macron

Photo: Reuters (Fair Use)

Paris and other French cities were swept by a fresh wave of unrest on Thursday over a pension reform, with protesters occupying the Paris offices of US investment firm BlackRock and setting fire to a popular restaurant that President Emmanuel Macron frequented.

Dozens of members of trade unions entered BlackRock’s Paris offices, located in the historic Centorial building, where they chanted slogans and set off firecrackers, directing their ire at the company’s private pension fund, the New York Post reported.

Protester Françoise Onic, a school teacher, stated, “The government intends to discard pensions and wants to compel individuals to finance their own retirement through private pension funds, but we know that only the affluent will be able to take advantage of such an arrangement.”

The brief occupation of BlackRock took place on the 11th day of nationwide strikes and protests against Macron’s plan to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 years, in an attempt to avoid France’s pension system from collapsing.

After roughly half an hour, the protesters left the BlackRock building, loudly chanting their favorite anti-pension reform slogan, “On est la” (“We are here”), with smoke from the firecrackers filling the lobby.

Written by staff