Mar 18, 2023 12:46 UTC
  •  French police attack Paris protesters as anti-pension bill protests rage

Police in Paris have tear-gassed protesters and arrested hundreds of them after they took the streets and gathered at Place de la Concorde to voice their anger against President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to implement pension reforms without a vote in the lower house of parliament.

The demonstrators late Friday chanted "Macron, Resign!" as they squared up to a line of riot police.

The protests led the police to arrest around 310 people, baton charge the protesters, use water cannons and use tear gas to empty the square.

Going ahead without a vote "is a denial of democracy ... a total denial of what has been happening in the streets for several weeks", 52-year-old psychologist Nathalie Alquier said in Paris. "It's just unbearable."

The violent crackdown led small groups to set the streets on fire, following which firefighters were seen battling the blazes on the streets.

The growing protests since the beginning of the year in France are being called the gravest challenge to President Macron ever since the “Gilets Jaunes” or “Yellow Vest” protests of December 2018.

Friday night's clashes followed similar disorder on Thursday after Macron decided to push through the contested pension overhaul without a parliamentary vote.

The Macron administration used a special constitutional power to implement the pension reforms, bypassing the vote in the lower house, the National Assembly, which will increase the retirement age from 62 to 64.

According to a Toluna Harris interactive poll for RTL radio, more than eight out of 10 people are unhappy with the government's decision to skip a vote in parliament, while 65 percent want strikes and protests to continue.