Thousands march against pension reform in Paris

PARIS: Thousands of people demonstrated on Saturday against the pension reforms proposed by the French president that have caused a one-month transport strike.

Some protesters put on yellow vests that over the past year have become a symbol of opposition to Macron's reform attempts that, according to him, will rationalize France The 42 separate pension schemes in a single point-based system.

Unions reject the scheme saying it would require millions of people to work beyond the official retirement age of 62.

Protesters left after noon from Gare de Lyon train station in the east Paris behind a giant banner that said: Macron, withdraw your project; Save and improve our retirement, in the direction of Gare de l'Est, four kilometers (2.5 miles) to the north, said an AFP journalist.

Upon arriving at the opera house in the square, some protesters shouted that we do not want the grandfather's clause to refer to the proposals for new opera dancers to lose the generous current pension benefits enjoyed by older colleagues who can now retire to 42 years old

So far, more than 60 performances at the Paris opera's historic Garnier and modern Bastille stages have been cancelled, leading to losses of more than 12 million euros (USD 13.4 million) in ticket sales.

Several other professions, including train drivers, also enjoy special pension provisions. Macron wants to simplify the system and is confident that support will fall on the strikers the longer the interruption continues in the middle of what is now the longest continuous strike in the history of France.

A new poll published on Friday showed that a 61 percent majority still support the strike, although that was five points less than a December 19 poll, according to the Odoxa pollster.

The unions called for another day of mass demonstrations for Thursday, when teachers, hospital workers and others are expected to join the strike. (AFP)