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Protesters enter French airport amid demonstrations over pension reforms | CNN


Protesters entered an airport southwestern France on Tuesday as part of demonstrations against the nation’s proposed pension reforms, which have sparked widespread protests and paralyzed major services across the country in recent weeks.

Videos on social media verified by CNN show smoke bombs being let off by protesters outside the entrance of Biarritz Airport, and the boarding area of the terminal, before an evacuation announcement sounded over the speakers.

Tuesday was the 10th day of action against French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to raise the retirement age for most workers from 62 to 64, in a move that has riled opposition lawmakers and trade unions.

Macron’s government pushed a bill through parliament without a vote last week, after two failed no-confidence votes cleared the way for the pension reforms.

The government has pressed on with the hugely unpopular bill because it says that relying on the working population to pay for a growing age group of retirees is no longer fit for purpose.

Blocking airports has been a tactic used by anti-pension reform protesters nationwide, with terminal 1 at Charles de Gaulle airport, just north of Paris, also being cut off on Thursday morning.

At least four groups can be identified in the footage based on their insignia, including a local Basquec trade union and two national associations – the CGT Departmental Union of Pyrénées-Atlantiques and the Fédération syndicale unitaire (FSU).

The FSU – which streamed a live video from Tuesday’s protest inside the airport – is one of France’s main trade unions in its education sector, representing “162,000 members, of whom 88% are teachers,” according to its website.

The CGT is one of five major trade unions nationwide, with branches across the country.

CNN has attempted to contact both the FSU and CGT and cannot independently confirm how many people were present at the airport protest or how the event unfolded.

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