According ro RFI, more than one million people took to the streets in France on Thursday to demand the withdrawal of the government’s plan to reform pension payments. The widespread strike crippled public transport, closed schools and slowed the energy sector.

In Paris, the hardline CGT union said some 400,000 demonstrators marched through the streets.

Government figures released on Thursday night said there were more than one million protesters throughout the country.

In the capital, clashes broke out between police and demonstrators around the Place de la Bastille.

Missiles were hurled at police who fired tear gas in response. Violence was also reported in Lyon (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) and Rennes.

From Calais in the north to Nice (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) in the south demonstrators took to the streets to decry plans to increase the legal retirement age from 62 to 64, a reform that also comes amid widespread social discontent and over rising inflation and the cost of living.

Figures reported by media show a large mobilisation: 38,000 people in Lyon, 36,000 in Toulouse (Occitania), 26,000 in Marseille, 25,000 in Nantes, 19,000 in Clermont-Ferrand, 15,000 in Montpellier, 14,000 in Tours, 12,000 in Perpignan and Orleans, 6,500 in Mulhouse and Perigueux (Nouvelle-Aquitaine).

Thursday was regarded as a test by unions who announced another day of action for 31 January to press home their demands for a change to Macron’s proposals.

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