The sorry episode at Vatry airport, in the eastern Marne region of France, where a flight from Dubai to Nicaragua, carrying 303 Indian passengers was grounded by French authorities for five days, on suspicion of illegal immigration, put the entire country to shame.
Thousands of labor on Thursday staged fresh nation-wide protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to overhaul pension reform in France that lead to traffic disruptions and road closures.
According to the interior ministry, in the sixth round of nation-wide protests, 187,000 demonstrators flooded the streets once again, including 23,000 in Paris.
Philippe Martinez, head of the far-left CGT union who headed the Paris rally said, “It’s never too late to force a government to cave in”.
Critics have said that it would effectively force people to work longer, in particular, public sector workers that have been allowed to retire earlier often because of hard-working conditions.
“We won’t give up…” said, Yves Veyrier, head of FO union. “Let’s put this bill definitely aside, drop it and get back to the negotiating table.”
Strikes at national railway SNCF and Paris metro RATP entered their 43rd day making it the country’s longest transport strike since 1968.
On Thursday, only 10 per cent of workers at the state-run SNCF company stopped working, compared with more than half when the strikes began on December 5, 2019.
The government has also offered a concession to temporally remove the most contested measure of “pivotal age” which encourages workers to extend their careers by two years to 64 to have a full pension.
Last month, protesters marching against the French government’s planned pension reform clashed with the police as they fired tear gas to disperse some groups of demonstrators.
In other cities, yellow vest demonstrations were largely peaceful, with 1,000 people marching in Marseille in southern France.
In November, tens of thousands of people took to streets of Paris and other French cities to protest against domestic violence, after more than 130 women are believed to have been killed by their partner or ex-partner in France this year.
The march, which covered the main avenues in Paris, also had the support of most national unions and leftist parties, with famous faces, such as actresses Léa Drucker and Julie Gayet, and Vincent Trintignant the brother of actress Marie Trintignant who was beaten to death by her partner in 2003.
The crisis forced President Emmanuel Macron to make policy concessions and delay the next wave of reforms, including overhauling the pension and unemployment systems.
The yellow vest protests, named for the high-visibility jackets worn by demonstrators, erupted in November 2018 over fuel price hikes and the high cost of living. The demonstrations spiralled into a broader movement against President Emmanuel Macron and his economic reforms.