France’s Weekend of Discontent: Yellow Vest and Pension Protesters Gather

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PARIS — One protest movement started a year ago in France and drew hundreds of thousands at its peak to roundabouts across the country in angry “Yellow Vest” demonstrations against planned increases in gas taxes.

Another — a nationwide strike expressing fury over President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to overhaul the pension system — began this past week. On Saturday, it continued to paralyze parts of the country.

Even as the strength of the long-running Yellow Vest protests has dissipated over the year, the movement’s simmering anger at the president has run smack dab this weekend into the latest turmoil over his pension plans.

Both events have harnessed broader discontent with the policies of Mr. Macron, who is viewed both by both Yellow Vests and labor activists as arrogant and disconnected from their daily struggles. At their most violent, the Yellow Vest protests saw people break shop windows, the police fire tear gas and rubber bullets and Mr. Macron consider a state of emergency.

“S.N.C.F. is asking those who can to cancel their trips,” the company said on Twitter.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the far-left France Unbowed party, said on Saturday that the “real problem” for French workers was that they retired “too late” and “too poor.”

“We have three days left to put the maximum amount of pressure so that it gives up on the idea of a point-based retirement system,” Mr. Mélenchon, speaking to reporters in Marseille, said of the government.

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