Anger, strikes and traffic chaos. Protests are taking off around France after President Macron's controversial decision to force through an increase in the retirement age.

So far, over 300 people have been arrested.

Students outside Nanterre University outside Paris, whose gates are blocked by garbage bags.
Students outside Nanterre University outside Paris, whose gates are blocked by garbage bags.

On Friday, angry demonstrators are blocking a major road around Paris, while the opposition and trade unions condemn the President's and Government's decision to push through the legislative changes without support in the National Assembly, including raising the current retirement age of 62 to 64 years.

Violent demonstrations broke out in several places already on Thursday evening after the government forced through the controversial pension changes. Demonstrators met in several places with tear gas and water cannons.

The opposition is announced on Friday to begin preparations for a vote of censure on the government and Prime Minister Borne. The vote is likely to take place at the beginning of next week.

Several trade unions flag that more strikes and protest marches will take place in the next few days. They claim that the pension reform for workers appears to be "brutal, unfair and unjust," says AP.

"They do not take the will of the people into account", says 51-year-old Soumaya Gentet, who works at the food chain Monoprix, to AFP.

The Ghent, who states that she will continue to protest until the change of law is rolled back, receives the agreement of her colleague Lamia Kerrouzi.

"Macron doesn't care a thing about the people", she says and continues:

"He and the people don't speak the same language."

Facts: French pensions

The general retirement age in France is 62, but you also need to have worked for 42 years to get a full pension.

There are three basic systems and then mandatory supplementary plans with points systems that look different depending on the industry and agreements. There are 42 different pension plans.

The average Frenchman retires at 62 years and four months of age, according to figures from 2020 (in Sweden it is over 64 years old) However, the differences are large between different arrangements.

In the public sector there are some agreements that stand out. About 40 000 people working in public transport in Paris, for example, have the right to retire from the age of 52.

The current government initially wanted to raise the retirement age to 65, but has since gone down to 64. The increase will take place gradually until 2030. The government also wants to bring forward a one-year increase in the number of years you need to work for a full pension. The guarantee pension will be increased and the number of plans will be reduced.

It was the long-standing President François Mitterrand (Socialist Party) who lowered the retirement age from 65 to 60 in 1982. Right-wing President Jacques Chirac wanted to introduce a universal system in 1995, but was met with huge protests and later withdrew it. Major protests also met proposals from Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010, but then a two-year increase in the retirement age was pushed through.