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  • Writer's pictureKaralynn Cromack

FRANCE IS ON FIRE: Here's Why

Since January, there have been rising tensions in France between the government and citizens. At this point, videos of the city of love -- full of violence and flames -- are now circulating. The catalyst of the revolt was introduced in the beginning of this year.

In January of 2023, Emmanuel Macron set a plan to raise the retirement age of France’s workers from 62 to 64. This was seen as an essential move to keep the economy stable as it meant workers put more money into the system, which would combat the rising inflation and cost of living crisis that follows.

An aspect of the situation that is deeply troubling is that this retirement law was passed in a manner that bypassed the legislation process of parliament. Through this, the French government was able to enact a policy that directly affected the people without accountability.

In an act of demonstration and opposition, garbage collection workers went on strike along with various other unions. The very rapid effects of these protests left the beauty of Paris buried under the matter and smell of waste.

Along with the strikes, many public protest gatherings have ensued, reaching hundred of thousands of people. Many of which have turned violent. Riot police have been called in and in recent demonstrations the use of tear gas against the crowds has been growing. Amid a demonstration of 1 million people, 457 were arrested and 441 security officers were harmed. Actions have escalated on the side of the people as well. “Mort au roi,” can be seen painted on the city walls which reads “Death to the king,” in English.

Graffiti at the Palace de la Concorde

In addition, trips to Paris have been cancelled, notably that of King Charles III. World renowned destinations such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre have been closed to visitors, though many still gather to protest outside the vicinities.

The major mistrust being felt by the public of France at the moment toward their governing officials is one that isn’t isolated to this region. In late 2022, over half of US citizens polled for Gallup News believed that the government held too much power. And as of late projects like the Willow Tree Project have been put into place despite the overwhelming protest of the people. What people are experiencing in France isn’t a spontaneous happening, but a culmination of fury and feelings of betrayal. The question we’re left with now is how the actions of the French people will affect change in their nation, and possibly others who share in that anger.


--- Karalynn Cormack

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