Russia Insider – Dec 20, 2019
As usual, there is a media blackout from French mainstream media, not to mention the American media.
As we speak, protests and riots are raging again in France. Most stores and cafés in Paris are now closed. Cases of looting became more frequent and three-fourths of trains aren’t operating. Four subway lines are closed. Twenty percent of flights in the Orly Airport were canceled.
Our staff correspondent Anastasia Popova is reporting from a France in upheaval.
They’ve been on strike for thirty days and are not going to back down. In Lion, Bordeaux, Montpelier, they are setting off firecrackers and flares.
Alarming news came from Lille: police officers got hit with an improvised explosive device: a bottle with a flammable liquid and nails. It didn’t go off, so nobody got hurt.
350,000 people took to the streets of the French capital. This is Republic Square, and further on, up to the horizon, the street is full of people. The next street is equally crowded. Doctors, lawyers, and teachers – all of France took to the streets in opposition to the retirement reform.
They are going to cancel all the current benefits all at once. For example, train drivers won’t be entitled to retirement at 50 anymore, and ballet dancers don’t get to keep their threshold of 42 years old. Now, the universal retirement age is 62, with incentives to work longer, up to 64 at least.
IT’S HIGH TIME TO ACT
“Budgets are being cut everywhere, there are many problems, and now there’s this reform.”
The bill united all of them, yet in every field, so many problems have accumulated that the level of discontent overflows.
– Our entire infrastructure was created in the 1960s. Each time, they are trying to reorganize all these old hospitals, the equipment is all outdated.
– Won’t the retirement reform improve things?
– It will only make things as bad as they can be.
Whoever descended to the subway stations today, encountered closed doors and these padlocks. Eight of the fourteen lines of the Paris subway are closed today. So, you have to move around the city on foot. Only the lines with the automated trains are operating at all times. The platforms are crammed with people. What’s more, you can encounter a false ticket checker. They check tickets and make people pay fines on the spot. But these fraudsters aren’t the railway’s employees. Six bus yards are fully stalled. The airlines are also on strike.
André Villanueva, Air France employee: “Many flights were canceled. Air France employees are on strike, not just here, not just us, all of France is rising up against the injustice.”
For now, tourists have to adapt to a new reality in which you can’t even find an available kick-scooter anywhere in the city.
Kristina Shpits: “We’re walking on foot. Twenty kilometers (12.5 miles) a day. The Eiffel Tower is on strike. But the main museums are still open. The Louvre is closed today, as it’s Tuesday. The Musée d’Orsay is open. I’m not sure if the Versailles is open today.”
“We are ready to go there, we’ll enjoy it, it’s very interesting, there’s a lot to see.”
Paris is drowning in traffic jams. Gas stations may soon suffer outages. Oil refining plants are also on strike. Prime Minister Édouard Philippe is inviting the representatives of the main trade unions to have negotiations, proposing a Christmas truce. But the French don’t want to wrap up the strike. Yet, they promise to come up with a compromise as to not spoil the holidays for others.