Place de la Concorde tensions: “The 49.3 is a shame, we can’t let it happen”

“We couldn’t come yesterday, so we thought we were going to catch up today! “, launch Thomas and Rémi, who came to “protest against unfair pension reform. This Friday evening, March 17, the two Parisian students joined the spontaneous gathering that formed on the emblematic Place de la Concorde in Paris. The call had been launched on social networks, and relayed all day on Instagram or Twitter, after a first restless night the day beforemarked by many tensions.

On site, no flag or chasuble, unlike movements organized in the morning on the ring road or Gare de Lyon under the leadership of certain unions. About 4,000 people, mostly young people, flocked from 6 p.m. in an electric atmosphere.

VIDEO. Pensions: demonstrators light a fire at Place de la Concorde, in Paris

Sam, 28, from Le Bourget (Seine-Saint-Denis), also rose up against the reform project defended by the government, only by the use of 49.3 to accelerate its adoption.

“I feel like I’m being insulted”

“This project was already the last straw. There, with the 49.3, it’s the whale that breaks the camel’s back. I feel like I’m being insulted. I really wonder why I voted Macron in 2022, storm this carpenter in decoration. At my age, I already have back pain from carrying heavy loads. But beyond my personal case, I am mobilizing for colleagues who are in their fifties and who suffer from tendonitis and back problems. I am not the most to complain. »

Same resentment on the side of Carla, 30, who is finishing her doctorate in Paris. She too was already there the day before. This Friday evening, it was by scrutinizing Twitter that she decided to join the Place de la Concorde again with her friend, Zacharie: “As soon as we saw that it was starting to get crowded, we rushed “, she says. “They are making fun of us! I had already participated in several demonstrations until now. I will continue because I believe in the shared initiative referendum. This is what gives me hope that the project will be abandoned. »

Zacharie, 32, a tax lawyer, admits not “having the profile of the protester. But I want to show that anger is interprofessional and affects the whole population. We must stand together against this reform. »

“They could have ped the text by proposing a fairer reform”

Matthew, 38, a computer developer in Paris, is one of those pushed into the streets by 49.3. “This is the first time that I have come to demonstrate. The government’s contempt for the people pushed me to do it this evening”, he confides, convinced that the government could have done otherwise: “They could have ped the text by proposing a fairer reform, by hitting the poor less and finding the money elsewhere, he says. There, I don’t know how it will evolve, I’m quite scared. »

Ten meters from the obelisk, Emmanuel, 52, observes the crowd with a benevolent eye. “I find it rather good child! “, he launches. A few seconds later, CRS charge, in front of his eyes, a group of thugs, busy destroying the site protections on the monument. As a crowd gathers around a blaze, many hooded people, equipped with gles and masks chant: “Everyone hates the police. »

Some recover cobblestones while a demonstrator arrives with a card bearing the image of Emmanuel Macron. The crowd gets carried away. “Macron at the stake! Macron at the stake! shout the demonstrators in chorus. “It’s not going to hurt him,” laughs Matthieu, 42, in front of the stage. This trainer came with his wife, Dorothée. “The 49.3 is a disgrace. We can’t let it happen, launches the latter. If it has to degenerate for the government to understand, it will degenerate. »

Away from the heart of the gathering, Marie, a 24-year-old student at La Sorbonne, regrets the turn of events, while fireworks are set off. “If it overflows, we will discredit the whole movement,” she breathes. Beside her, Flavien, cap on his head, “understands” anger. “Everything explodes. For a month and a half millions of people spoke out calmly. We were not listened to, he decides. What should we do? »

VIDEO. “The strike yes, cancel the exams, relou”: the students of Nanterre divided on the blocking of the university

Around 8 p.m., the security forces began to disperse the crowd with tear gas canisters and disencirclement grenades. By 9 p.m., 12 people had been arrested.

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