French protesters have stormed the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in what may be trade unions’ last attempt to pressure Emmanuel Macron, the French president, into ditching plans to raise the retirement age.
Several dozen hard-Left CGT unionists briefly occupied the building in Aubervilliers, northern Paris, as tens of thousands marched across France against Mr Macron’s bill, which has already been signed into law.
“There was no violence and no damage,” according to a Games spokesman.
This is the 14th protest since mid-January in which unions and the Left have sought to strong-arm the French government into reversing its reform to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64. They argue the deficit can be plugged by taxing the wealthy more.
“This will be the last protest of this kind over the pension matter,” conceded Laurent Berger, head of the reformist CFDT trade union, France’s largest.
Sophie Binet, leader of the CGT, said her union would battle on. Even so, she acknowledged that turnout was set to fall on previous rounds.
“There’s a lot of anger but also fatigue,” she said, adding that strikers had felt the pinch on their wallets.
Between 400,000 and 600,000 people were expected to join the protests, authorities said – half the number who took the streets at the height of the protests earlier this year.
Some protesters have threatened to disrupt next summer’s Olympics in Paris if Mr Macron does not back down.
Mr Macron and his government have been on a blitz in recent weeks to regain the initiative.
The French leader has unveiled electric vehicle battery investments, tax credits for the green industry, and tax cuts for the middle-classes.
There are signs his efforts are starting to pay off.
His popularity recovered slightly to 29 per cent in May, from 25 per cent in April, according to an Elabe poll for Les Echos newspaper and Radio Classique.
Another showed that 40 per cent now back the pension reform, up two points from a month ago, although a majority still support the protests.