Paris protests: Furious flare-wielding French workers storm Olympic Games HQ

Protestors storm building

Protestors have stormed the Olympic Games HQ in Paris

Twitter/Clement Lanot
Sam Montgomery

By Sam Montgomery

Published: 06/06/2023

- 12:24

Updated: 06/06/2023

- 13:43

Pension reform protestors affiliated with trade union CGT have invaded the Paris Olympic Games 2024 HQ

Protestors in France briefly occupied the Olympic Games 2024 HQ in Paris, lighting flares and chanting "No withdrawal, no Olympics!"

The move is the latest flashpoint in lengthy standoff between members of the General Confederation of Labour (Confédération générale du travail) trade union and French President Emmanuel Macron over proposed pension reforms.

Earlier this year President Macron signed a law which raised the pension age from 62 to 64, but discussions will take place today on a draft bill proposed by the centrist Liot party aimed at mothballing the reform.

A Games spokesperson told Reuters: "Several dozen CGT militants got into the building for a few minutes to deploy banners against pension reform. There was no violence and no damage."

CGT protestors

CGT are calling for an end to plans to increase the pension age from 62 to 64

Twitter/Clement Lanot

French police had braced for protests today, announcing on 4 June plans to deploy 11,000 officers including 4,000 in Paris to quell unrest.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted that extra policing would "ensure the security of the demonstrations and guarantee the right to demonstrate," on what is the fourteenth consecutive day of nationwide protest.

The General Confederation of Labour (Confédération générale du travail) are a hard-left French trade union headed up by leader Sophie Binet.

Binet told BFM TV on Sunday: "We are not asking to bring down the government, but to bring down the retirement reform."

\u200bSophie Binet joins the demonstration in front of the National Assembly in Paris today

Sophie Binet joined the demonstration in front of the National Assembly in Paris today


Set to come into effect in September, Binet labelled the timing of the reform as "totally irresponsible", adding that "it's scandalous to want to apply this reform at breakneck speed."

Elected as a surprise compromise candidate, Sophie Binet, 41, became the CGT's first female leader in March 2023 after taking over from Philippe Martinez.

Binet brushed aside rivals Celine Verzeletti, who was considered the hardline faction's favourite, and Marie Buisson, who Philippe Martinez endorsed, to take to charge of France's second largest union.

Speaking outside the National Assembly in Paris today, Binet said: "Protests have been going on for six months, it's unprecedented... there's a lot of anger but also fatigue."

Smoky scene in Nantes

Clashes have broken out in Nantes


Protestors are feeling a pinch on their paychecks that might well sound the death knell for the protests, or turn the unrest up a notch in a last ditch attempt to stop reforms.

Between 400,000 and 600,000 protestors are expected across France today, down from the million that took part at the height of the protests.

Fuel deliveries were blocked from leaving TotalEnergies's Donges site near Nantes today, while there are reports of police using tear gas in Paris.

The CGT recently targeted the 76th Cannes Film Festival by disrupting power and gas supplies, in a move that also impacted hotels and restaurants.

President Macron will be hoping to drag out proceedings until the summer holidays as his popularity rose by eight points in YouGov's latest poll, yet still languishes around the 30 per cent mark.

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