Anger against Macron is mounting as French unions hold new protests

    At the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris, several hundred strikers lined the tracks to prevent trains from moving, brandishing flares and chanting “and we will go, and we will go until we pull out” and “Macron, go away.”

    “This year our holidays may not be so great,” said Maxime Monin, 46, who stressed that workers like him, who work in public transport, don’t get paid on strike days. “But I think it’s worth the sacrifice.”

    Fabien Villedieu, a SUD-rail unionist, said the strike at French railway company SNCF is indefinite. “There are actions every day everywhere, in all the small and big cities of France, with one, two, three or four protests. One, two, three or four blockades,” he said. “What should we do to get the government to listen?”.

    In the northern suburbs of Paris, several dozen union members blocked a bus depot in Pantin, preventing about 200 vehicles from getting out during rush hour.

    Nadia Belhoum, a 48-year-old bus driver who took part in the action, criticized Macron’s decision to force the higher retirement age.

    “The President of the Republic … is not a king and he must listen to his people,” she said.

    The Ministry of Education said in a statement that about 24% of teachers in primary and secondary schools have left their jobs, and 15% in secondary schools.

    The French government last week invoked a constitutional provision to get the pension law passed without the approval of lawmakers. The bill must now be reviewed by France’s Constitutional Council before it becomes law.

    Macron’s government survived two no-confidence motions in the House of Representatives on Monday.

    The 45-year-old center president, who is in his second and final term, said repeatedly that he was convinced that the French pension system needed to be adjusted to keep it funded. Opponents proposed other solutions, including higher taxes on the wealthy or businesses, which Macron said would hurt the economy.

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