everywhere in France, the mobilization against the reform intensifies

There are unmistakable signs. Numerous and massive processions in which hope seems to drive out the resignation observed in the social movements of recent years. First-time demonstrators marching alongside seasoned protesters. Sporadic and quickly controlled scuffles. And the gap between the participation figures given by the authorities and those of the organizers which is widening.

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The accounting battle will not elude the success of this second day of mobilization against the pension reform which brought together, Tuesday, January 31, 1.272 million demonstrators everywhere in France according to the police, 2.8 million according to the CGT. A record against a social reform since 1995. In Paris, they were 150,000 demonstrators according to the Prefecture of police while the CGT, on behalf of the inter-union, counted 500,000. Between 25,000 and 45,000 in Lyon. Whatever the figures, participation is up almost everywhere, in Marseille (40,000), Nantes (28,000), Rennes (23,000), Montpellier (25,000) but also in smaller towns such as Calais (5,000) or Périgueux (7,600). And the mobilization has not weakened either in Toulouse (34,000), Bordeaux (16,500), Rouen (14,000) or even Strasbourg (10,500).

After a successful first day on January 19, the movement is firmly rooted in the country and its scale is confirmed. The union leaders did not fail to congratulate themselves before the departure of the parade in the capital. The general secretary of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, hailed one “of the biggest demonstrations organized in our country for decades”. “Everywhere we see that the workers, in a great diversity, clearly express their rejection of this reform, it is implacable”added his CGT counterpart, Philippe Martinez.

In the procession of the demonstration against the pension reform in Valenciennes (North), January 31, 2023.
Donges refinery workers and CGT activists during the demonstration in Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique) on January 31, 2023.
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A sign that the anger does not only concern the union scum accustomed to social movements, many of them are demonstrating for the first time in a long time. Even for the very first time for Sylvie Sutter and her daughter Marie, in Mulhouse. “I am 57 years old, so I am directly concerned. This is the first time that I have demonstrated in my life: Macronie is starting to do well”exclaims the mother, an accountant. “It was very important to come and demonstrate today, because it’s the only way we have to exert pressure. This reform has no basis.adds Marie, a master’s student in history.


The last time for Sandrine was in 1986, against the Devaquet laws. At 53, it’s “the injustice of this reform” who decided this stewardess at EasyJet to go back down to the streets. “It’s two more years of working with still no consideration of the arduousness, adds his colleague Pauline at his side. The trolley in the plane is almost 80 kg to pull! And with takeoffs and landings, the body takes a hit! » Neither were present on January 19, “but this time the union chartered a bus from Roissy”rejoice these two activists from the National Union of Commercial Flight Crew.

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