Emmanuel Macron said on Friday "at the disposal of the inter-union" to discuss work-related issues, but without questioning his pension reform. The Head of State does not want a "country at a standstill" and intends to "continue to move forward" despite the social anger which caused the postponement of the state visit of Charles III.
The announcement was made the day after a new day of mobilization marked by renewed tensions in several cities in France, lawyers and the opposition denouncing police violence.
The Council of Europe was alarmed by "excessive use of force by state agents", urging not "to deprive peaceful demonstrators of the enjoyment of the right to freedom of assembly".
To "calm things down", the boss of the CFDT Laurent Berger called on the President of the Republic to put "on hold" for six months the pension reform, the flagship project of his second five-year term.
From Brussels, where he was attending a European Council, Emmanuel Macron did not accede to this request.
“I indicated our availability to move forward on subjects such as professional wear and tear, career endings, retraining, career development, working conditions, remuneration in certain branches,” he said. . "And so I am at the disposal of the intersyndicale if it wishes to come and meet me to move forward on all these subjects".
"For the rest and the pension reform, it is before the Constitutional Council and it is obvious that we will await (its) decision", in less than a month, he added.
An insufficient response for trade unions.
"No one is going to tackle new issues by dodging pensions," assured the union's national secretary, Yvan Ricordeau.
The Head of State says "he wants to discuss with the unions ... but not pensions! This is a new provocation", denounced Simon Duteil, co-delegate general of the Solidaires trade union.
The trade unions had asked, on March 8, to be received urgently by Emmanuel Macron, who had opposed them in a plea of inadmissibility. Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne then referred them to the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt.
-"Common sense" for Charles III-
Emmanuel Macron also had to justify himself on the postponement of the state visit of Charles III, for which 4,000 police and gendarmes were to be mobilized.
This postponement, at the request of Emmanuel Macron, according to Downing Street, is a serious snub for the French president since the British monarch had wanted to make his first official visit abroad to France as a sovereign.
"Common sense and friendship lead us to propose a postponement". "We would not be serious and we would lack a certain common sense", to "propose a visit in the middle of the demonstrations", indicated Emmanuel Macron.
Charles III was notably expected in Bordeaux, the scene of incidents on Thursday with the porch of the town hall on fire.
The opposition immediately seized on this postponement.
"The meeting of kings at Versailles dispersed by popular censorship", rejoiced the leader of La France insoumise Jean-Luc Mélenchon, in reference to the State dinner which was planned at the castle of the kings of France.
"What an image for our country to not even be able to ensure the safety of a head of state", reacted the boss of the Republicans, Éric Ciotti.
Entering its third month, the protest gathered Thursday in the streets between 1.089 million people (Interior) and 3.5 million (CGT).
Ransacking, fires, clashes with the police: the violence which had so far been only sporadic, made a spectacular appearance.
The executive "will not give in to violence", declared Emmanuel Macron from Brussels. "In a democracy, we do not have the right to violence".
The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, for his part denounced "thugs who want to kill police officers".
In Paris, violence broke out at the head of the demonstration with their share of broken windows and destroyed street furniture. Incidents continued late into the evening in the wake of wild processions, contrary to a parade where the vast majority of demonstrators marched peacefully.
Gérald Darmanin reported 457 arrests, and 441 injuries in the ranks of the police.
He announced eleven judicial investigations entrusted to the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN), while many observers evoke a hardening of the maintenance of order.
New calls for rallies Friday evening and Saturday in Paris were circulating on social networks. Waiting for the next day of mobilization at the call of the inter-union, March 28.
"Everyone must call for calm", commented the president (Renaissance) of the National Assembly Yaël Braun-Pivet.
Former Socialist Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called for "de-escalation".
And, for Marine Le Pen (RN), "Emmanuel Macron can no longer govern alone, he must now come back to the people".
On Friday, blockages persisted in universities, especially in Paris and Lyon. And the high school student unions Fidl and the Voix lycéenne are calling for a mobilization from Monday and until the end of the week.
The energy sector (gas, oil, electricity) remains particularly mobilized, but the supply of fuel to the Paris basin by the major TotalEnergies refinery in Gonfreville-L'Orcher (Normandy) has resumed after an intervention by the forces of the order.
The mobilizations against the mega-basins in Deux-Sèvres this weekend promise to be a new challenge for the executive.
03/24/2023 18:46:33 - Paris (AFP) - © 2023 AFP