Hundreds of thousands of people protested President Emmanuel Macron's planned universal pension reforms across France amid a nationwide strike on Tuesday, December 17, causing widespread disruptions to transportation, business, school, and power services. Notably, police fired stun grenades and tear gas at demonstrators assembled in Paris' Place de la Nation. Shops in Paris were closed in protest-affected areas, as police assembled along Boulevard Beaumarchais and erected barricades across the Place de la Bastille roundabout and in front of the Élysée Palace. Service on most Paris metro lines, as well as long-distance and commuter trains, was canceled on Tuesday amid the unrest, and many state schools were closed. Union activists also cut electricity to nearly 100,000 homes and offices around Bordeaux and Lyon and, in Paris, the Eiffel Tower was closed.
A heightened security presence is to be expected near all protest sites and along all march routes. Lingering disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected in demonstration-affected areas. Cuts to power grids, school classes, and other public services are possible over the near term as opposition to the planned pension reform scheme continues.
Thousands have protested across France in December 2019 to voice their opposition to the planned pension reform scheme, which would raise the retirement age from an average age of 62 to 64. Subsequent ongoing nationwide strikes have caused significant disruptions to all forms of transportation. Strikes may continue for an indefinite period if the government does not abandon its proposed pension reform plan.
Individuals in Paris and across France are advised to closely monitor developments to the situation, anticipate significant transportation and business disruptions, plan alternative routes and budget additional travel time in areas affected by the general strike and protests, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.