In Paris, Bordeaux, Nantes, and Lille

“I’m celebrating against retirement”, laughs, dancing near the FO sound system of the Parisian procession, Martin, 5 and a half years old, who came with his father, who whispers to him smiling “against the pension reform”. In the capital, from the République station, things were jammed in the corridors of the metro, the demonstrators rushing towards line 8 as close as possible to the departure of a Parisian procession, which was wandering on the left bank for this 8th day of mobilization, this Wednesday after -noon.

In Lille, Philippe, a 51-year-old driver, who participated in his first mobilizations, is more decided. “As long as there is no death, Macron will not move. Of course we will continue to demonstrate, the people do not want this reform. Going to the streets will not be enough, at some point you will have to block or do other things, he insists. I’ve never demonstrated in my life, but I started working at 17 and instead of leaving at 57, I’m going to leave at 64? This is not possible ! Jean-Loup, a 33-year-old from Bordeaux, who works in video games, shows his support for these professions with great difficulty. “With the arrival of the garbage collectors who have come to put the binz, if I may say so, it helps a lot. There are essential jobs that are asked to work super late, he believes. With their help it can move a little faster.”

“Our elected officials should listen to us”

“Is the Invalides station closed? wonders aloud Sylvie, a regular at Parisian demonstrations. If so, the driver should announce it anyway. We can get off at Concorde, she slips to her friends of the day, you just have to cross the bridge over the Seine. The other stops further, at the Tour-Maubourg, I don’t know too much. This corner of Paris, I rarely go there, ”confides this Parisian for 25 years, who did not hesitate to go on strike again this Wednesday. “If we don’t strike a blow today, I don’t know what will happen next. Tomorrow is the vote in Parliament”. Robert, also met on the side of the Invalides, tries to keep the accounts, even if he is skeptical: “We have never talked so much about the Republicans since Sarkozy’s defeat in 2007”, he jokes.

For Jean-Pierre, 60, demonstrating in the Nantes ranks, “the form and the content are not well done. Our elected officials should listen to us.” For him, the only solution is protest. An optimism shared by Carole, 44, teacher-researcher in a veterinary school in Bordeaux, ready to continue beyond Thursday’s vote. “A few years ago, we managed to get the government to go the other way. The people are sovereign. Everyone says it’s useless, but I think it’s to discourage us. »

Towards more massive blockages?

Continue, yes, but in what form? With what means? Sylvia, this Parisian grandmother who looks after her 8-year-old granddaughter on Wednesdays, has decided to take her to her first demonstration. “If from an early age, Ella already understands the shenanigans of our leaders, she will be able in the future to find solutions to counter these reforms. Because they won’t stop. They never did. I come especially for her, so that she will one day know the joy of spending time with her grandchildren before killing herself at work”. In Lille, Léo, a 21-year-old student, pleads for massive blockages. “The vote does not work, the demonstration either. What’s left? If the only solution is to block, and I’m not even talking about violence, then you have to block”.

A poster in the Parisian procession of March 15, 2023.
A poster in the Parisian procession of March 15, 2023. – L. Gamaury / 20 Minutes

Sophie, in the Bordeaux parade for the fifth time, is also considering a more radical turn. “We are thinking very seriously about not monitoring the specialty tests, the most important of the baccalaureate, these Mondays and Tuesdays. We have exams in March for a baccalaureate whose program was invented for the month of June, so the students are not ready. For years we have said that the only way to be heard is at the exam level. We never want to do it so as not to put the students in danger. But there, there is a concomitance between this pension reform and that of the high school ”.

In Paris, Ernestine, who has had a six-day strike since mid-January, has a similar speech: “Macron wants us to fight? We are going to fight. Garbage collectors are not alone, we can block a lot of things, the metro, energy, refineries, etc. We are not sheep”, she insists, the “metro, job, cellar” across the throat. “Macron, even if you don’t want to, we are here”, she continues in chorus with the Parisian demonstrators. But for how long ?

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