Trains and flights were canceled in France, primary schools shut and thousands of police officers deployed as labor unions held nationwide strikes to protest the government’s plan to raise the retirement age for most workers.
Protests in major French cities, including Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Nantes and Nice, brought transport services to a standstill on Thursday. The Eiffel Tower was closed to visitors, and the country’s energy network was also under strain.
Eight of the biggest unions had called for a “first day of strikes and protests” against pension reforms unveiled by President Emmanuel Macron’s government. The legislation will require French citizens to work until 64, from 62 currently, to qualify for a full state pension.
Train lines across France were seeing “severe disruption,” according to French rail authority SNCF. Metro lines in Paris were hit by full or partial closures, the city transport authority RATP said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Eurostar canceled several services between the French capital and London, according to its website.
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