Paris trash strike ends as pension protest numbers begin to shrink – National

Sanitation workers in Paris are due to return to work on Wednesday as protests over French President Emmanuel Marcon’s controversial pension bill appear to be winding down.

Piles of up to 10,000 tons of garbage along the streets of the French capital are as heavy as the Eiffel Tower and have become a striking visual symbol against a bill raising Marcon’s retirement age from 62 to 64. .

Clean-up parties were set Wednesday to begin picking up debris from the streets following the day’s renewed anti-pension reform protests. Said it was over. They join other previously legally requisitioned people to help clean up.

“I’m glad the garbage was collected. It’s very unsanitary and some residents are already plagued with rats. It’s dangerous if left too long,” said 73-year-old artist Gil Franco.

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The decontamination, along with the drop in the number of protesters, is seen by some as the beginning of the end of demonstrations against the pension bill.

“People are sick of it. There was too much violence. Paris is messy, but I want to live a normal life,” said Amandine Betu, 32, from Paris. said as he picked up his morning croissant in the Marais district. She said her cleanup may take some time, but it’s a “good thing” when the streets are cleared of trash.

The single-named artist Bisk, who has garnered attention for his creative sculptures out of garbage, said his work added some levity to the tense protests and reminded Parisians of the bright side of life. .

“People come in earnest, see the monster’s face or the little man, and leave with a smile. People thank you for setting the mood,” said the 30-year-old artist.

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Bisk said he has worked on about 100 trash can “sculpts” since March 6, creating fantastical monster faces with crazy eyes and small friendly men.

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“Everyone was nervous and the police stopped me from doing my job because they thought I was trying to set fire to garbage. I’m just doing it,” Bisque said. “I’m not a politician. I just turn junk into gold.

Tuesday’s protests in Paris saw dozens of arrests and a flare-up of violence, but significantly fewer people took part in the action nationwide.

The Interior Ministry estimates the number of demonstrators across the country at 740,000, down from more than 1 million five days ago when protesters expressed their anger over President Macron’s order to push the bill through parliament without a vote. bottom.

For trade unions, the fight against the law is not over yet. The 11th day of action he is scheduled for April 6th.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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