French pension protest blocks entry to Louvre museum
Trade union protesters angered by President Emmanuel Macron’s move to raise the French retirement age without a final vote in parliament have blocked the Louvre museum in Paris, frustrating crowds of visitors.
Demonstrating peacefully against plans to make most French work an extra two years to 64 to balance the pension budget, a small number of protesters gathered at the foot of the Louvre’s glass pyramid.
One banner read “Retire at 60 – work less to live longer”.
A queue of disappointed tourists snaked through the courtyard.
“This is ridiculous, we come from everywhere in the world with our children to visit a museum and it’s ridiculous that 20 people are blocking the entrance,” said Samuel, a Mexican tourist who did not give his surname.
“I really understand where they’re coming from, and it’s fair enough. But we all would like to go and see ‘Mona Lisa’, but never mind,” said Jane, a visitor from London.
Louvre employees were among the protesters outside the famed museum.
A Louvre tour guide came out to address the visitors.
“We hope you understand our reasons,” she said.
The protest came one day ahead of a 10th round of nationwide strikes and street marches and followed violence in cities across France over the pension system changes.
Separately, Paris police said they were carrying out an operation to prevent unauthorised gatherings in front of the Centre Pompidou, another landmark museum in Paris.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne plans to meet with opposition leaders and trade unions in the hope of ending weeks of protests against the new pension law, her office says.
Demonstrations against the pension reform, which will raise the retirement age by two years, turned violent after the government pushed through the legislation this month without a final parliamentary vote.
President Emmanuel Macron has ruled out scrapping or delaying the legislation, tasking his prime minister with finding fresh support in parliament after the government failed to find enough votes for the bill.
Borne will meet with political party leaders and also aims to restart dialogue with unions over labour issues, her office said, without mentioning the pension bill.
The prime minister added in an interview with AFP that the meetings with opposition and union leaders would take place in the week starting April 3.
She also pledged not to use constitutional powers to adopt legislation without a vote again except for on budget bills, AFP said.