mobilization down Thursday but tens of thousands of demonstrators “determined”

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Demonstration against pension reform in Paris, January 16 JULIEN MUGUET FOR “LE MONDE”

They assert themselves “Eligible” for the continuation, with a new meeting on January 24, in spite of a mobilization in clear fall out of Paris, where the demonstration is in the process of ending. After six weeks of conflict and SNCF traffic gradually returning to normal, the unions opposed to the pension reform tried, Thursday, January 16, to maintain the dispute.

This new day of demonstrations, at the call of the inter-union (CGT, FO, Solidaires, FSU, CFE-CGC and three youth organizations) is the 6e since December 5. Processions were organized throughout France.

Relive the day of the event: January 16 strike: follow live the day of demonstrations against the pension reform
  • In Paris, a majority of teachers in the procession

In Paris, the CGT claimed 250,000 demonstrators between Montparnasse and the Place d’Italie (against 370,000 on January 9). They were parading behind a banner “Points retreats: all losers, retirement at 60: all winners! “.

There were a large majority of teachers there, despite declining striker rates in national education (6.6% in primary and 6.83% in middle and high schools, according to the ministry at midday).

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Also present: lawyers in robes, railway workers, RATP agents or students.

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  • Inter-union hopes to re-mobilize

The intersyndicale hopes to find a significant mobilization after several days of actions in withdrawal compared to the 805,000 demonstrators of December 5, according to the interior ministry.

“The determination is always as great”, assured the number one of the CGT Philippe Martinez. “It is never too late to hand over a government”.

But “There is no idea that the government would have moved anything”, estimated Benoît Teste (FSU), recognizing that “Weariness is the risk of this movement”.

  • Participation down sharply in the regions

The first figures for demonstrations outside Paris rather showed a decline: around 42,000 people marched in France outside Paris at 3 p.m., according to a count by Agence France-Presse made from figures provided by the police or the prefectures.

AT Marseilles, 8,000 people according to the police (110,000 according to the CGT) gathered in the Old Port. “No negotiation, withdrawal of the Macron project”asked a FSU banner. Our local journalist, Luc Leroux, noted that many lawyers were present. They were sworn in on Tuesday at the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal. Etienne Peyreffite, 27, explains:

“Being on the street today is a good reason to wear our dress for the first time. It is giving meaning to our missions, participating in this movement is protecting access to law for the most disadvantaged. In our oath, we have sworn to exercise with independence and humanity, this reform will mean that we will not be able to respect this oath. “

AT Toulouse, the demonstrators were 7,300 according to the prefecture and 80,000 according to the CGT.

AT Lille, before the demonstration, around sixty professionals in the paramedical sector threw their white coats in front of the premises of the Health Insurance. “We do not understand that the government is attacking our well-functioning autonomous system”, denounced Juliette Grzeszak, liberal speech therapist, fearing that the increases in pension contributions could jeopardize speech therapists, physiotherapists, nurses …

AT Bordeaux, drums, refreshment bar and sometimes electric atmosphere between demonstrators and police, observed by our correspondent on site:

Jérémy professor at the University of Bordeaux and Philippe, researcher in a research institute explain that “Everyone mobilizes as they can” and are not discouraged by the smaller number of protesters today, he said.

For its part, the procession of Lyon arrived shortly after 2 p.m. Place Bellecour. According to the CGT, 16,000 people took to the streets on Thursday (against 27,000 people according to the count of the same union on January 9). The police, however, counted 6,600 demonstrators. Box of coffee transformed into a strike case around the neck, David Longeval, railroad worker at Part Dieu and activist South Rail congratulates our correspondent Richard Schittly on the mobilization of the day after a departure from the procession, however sparse:

“It is heart-warming after such a long strike movement and in a city like Lyon which does not have a tradition of struggling to see so many people mobilized and so many trades represented”.

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  • Four out of seven refineries are still experiencing difficulties

Access to the terminals of the port of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire, the first on the Atlantic coast, was still blocked on Thursday at the call of the CGT federation ports and docks.

Four out of seven refineries “Are experiencing temporary difficulties in their expeditions”, as well as two fuel depots “About 200”, according to the ministry of ecological and solidarity transition.

“We are particularly concerned with the issue of arduousness with night work or the fact that we breathe products that are not very good”, said Jérémy Colin, 42, an operator at the Donges refinery, which paraded in Saint-Nazaire, where CGT activists rubbed shoulders with “Yellow vests”.

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  • Arm wrestling continues with government

Meanwhile, the government’s proposals for the different categories mobilized continue: “Significant increases from 2021” for teachers, including salary increases of 70 to 90 euros net per month at the start of their career were announced Thursday, as well as the maintenance of“A clean case” to the legal profession the day before. Without convincing the interested parties.

If the mobilization decreases, it remains in any case supported mainly by public opinion, according to several polls. The executive responded to the request of the reformist unions (CFDT, UNSA and CFTC) by agreeing to abolish the gradual establishment from 2022 of a pivotal age with a bonus-penalty. And an “Funding conference” will be responsible by the end of April for finding the means to guarantee financial balance in 2027.

But the compromise proposed is a “Decoy” for unions hostile to the reform which announced new mobilizations on 22, 23 and especially 24 January, with a 7e national day of action during the examination of the bill in the Council of Ministers.

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