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Bordeaux’s town hall was set on fire during angry protests in France as demonstrators continue to hit out at pension reforms imposed by President Emmanuel Macron. It has not been established who was responsible for the fire, but it was quickly put out by fire services.
The fire came as unions called for more strikes against the pension reforms on Tuesday, when King Charles III is due to visit Bordeaux.
AP report that French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tried to calm any concerns ahead of the King’s trip, saying on Thursday night that security “poses no problem” and the monarch will be “welcomed and welcomed well.”
Bordeaux has not been the only city to see protests over the last nine days, with reports of trouble elsewhere in France leading to clashes between police and demonstrators.
Police fired tear gas at protestors in Nantes, western France, and used a water cannon against others in Rennes.
A fire was also briefly started at a police station in Lorient after a projectile was fired, according to Ouest-France newspaper.
Around 120,000 people took to the streets in Paris on Thursday. While protests were mostly peaceful, groups of “Black Bloc” anarchists smashed shop windows, destroyed street furniture, and raided a McDonalds restaurant.
Riot police tried to deal with protestors with tear gas and stun grenades.
The protests were sparked by President Macron’s controversial decision to force through pension reforms without a vote, using special constitutional powers.
His unpopular plan to will raise the pension age from 62 to 64.
While many opposition leaders are furious, Mr Macron’s government survived a no-confidence vote earlier this week.
The French President has also defended his pension plans and the way he has passed them.
He said this week: “As I speak to you, do you think it gives me pleasure to enact this reform? I say this to the French people, it gives me no pleasure. I wish I didn’t have to do this. But it’s out of a sense of responsibility and for the country’s best interests.”
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