Strike of March 7: 3.5 million demonstrators in France according to the CGT, 1.28 million for the Ministry of the Interior
For this sixth day of mobilization against the pension reform, the unions had promised to put “France at a standstill”. As a new day of strike looms on Wednesday in several sectors, the mobilization was closely followed in the countrywith figures close to or even higher than January 31 levels in many cities, according to the unions but also the authorities.
According to the CGT, 3.5 million people demonstrated in France during the day, including 700,000 in Paris. For its part, the Ministry of the Interior lists 1.28 million demonstrators. They were, according to the police headquarters, 81,000 to gather in Paris. In all, some 280 demonstrations were organized on Tuesday, while the Senate examined in the afternoon article 6 of the decried reform.
Record in Brest
The CGT figures are higher than during previous days of action, when the union’s estimates had never exceeded 500,000 people in Paris. During the last day of mobilization, February 16, the union had reported 300,000 demonstrators in the capital, against 37,000, according to the prefecture. He had counted 500,000 on February 11 (93,000, according to the prefecture), as on January 31 (87,000, according to the prefecture).
Record beaten in Brest: with 22,000 participants identified by the police – and 30,000 by the unions – the port city exceeded the score established during the second day of mobilization at the end of January, which has become the standard meter of the social movement. Gauge also exceeded in Pau, where the prefecture counted 15,500 demonstrators and the organizers 22,000, and even pulverized in Rodez with 14,500 to 25,000 people in the pouring rain.
The authorities have counted 2,000 demonstrators in Bastia, 4,500 in Belfort or 6,500 in Guéret. Figures which confirm the renewed mobilization observed in several medium-sized cities, as well as metropolises such as Nantes (30,000 demonstrators). In many other localities, the official counts were identical or very close to the performances recorded at the start of the year, notably in Lyon (25,000), Montpellier (25,000), Grenoble (20,500) and Rouen (13,500). Elsewhere, the rebound did not reach these heights, in particular in Rennes (19,000), Lille (11,500), Tours (11,500) and Strasbourg (9,500).
As usual, the police and union estimates sometimes made the big difference, with ratios of one to four in Nice (7,000 and 30,000) and Le Havre (10,700 and 45,000), even one to six in Saint-Étienne (from 8,800 to 50,000), the palm still going to Marseille with a ratio of one to eight, between 30,000 and 245,000.
“It’s the first day of a new phase”
According to the Ministry of National Education, 32.71% of teachers declared themselves to be on strike today, at all levels. In primary education, this figure rises to 35.35% of school teachers. The primary unions claimed Monday evening a mobilization of 60%.
In addition to the disruptions in transport, schools, colleges, high schools and universities, several roads, in particular in Rennes, Caen, Le Havre or Perpignan, were blocked very early on Tuesday, with the establishment of filter dams. Fuel shipments have been suspended in all refineries in France, according to the CGT.
“It’s the first day of a new phase, with a new watchword: to put the country at a standstill”, had hammered in the morning Philippe Martinez, the secretary of the CGT, at the microphone of France info. “We are at the dawn of a day of mobilization which promises to be very powerful”, had for his part affirmed Laurent Berger, the boss of the CFDT, on LCI.