Headline RoundupMarch 17th, 2023

French Protests Intensify After Macron Bypasses National Assembly to Raise Retirement Age

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Ongoing French protests intensified after French President Emmanuel Macron decided to bypass a parliamentary vote and raise the country’s retirement age from 62 to 64.

For Context: Macron has said the proposal was necessary because of changing demographic factors, like increased life span. The French Senate had already approved the change on Thursday, but the National Assembly — where Macron’s party lacks a majority — was expected to reject it. Macron then decided to invoke Article 49.3 of the French Constitution, allowing him to push the law through without a vote. Met with heckling from legislators, French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne defended the reform as “necessary.” Opposition leaders filed several requests for no-confidence votes against Macron’s government.

The Response: Ongoing protests intensified on Friday, with demonstrators and rioters blocking roads, setting fires, clashing with police, and even threatening Macron’s residence. Trash filled the streets as garbage collectors went on strike. 

U.S. Parallels: Like France, the U.S. also faces concerns with keeping retirement plans financially afloat. President Joe Biden opposes raising the retirement age, and Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has called for raising the retirement age only for people currently in their 20s. A bipartisan group of senators is also reportedly working on the issue. 

How the Media Covered It: Outlets on the right tended to cover the story less frequently. Some coverage from the left called the French proposal “highly unpopular.” Instances of turmoil were attributed to “rioters” in some right-rated outlets and to “angry protesters” in some left-rated outlets. 

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