In recent weeks, massive protests against the Macron government’s reforms to pensions have rocked the country. Macron is increasing the retirement age from 62 to 64.
BlackRock’s Paris headquarters was stormed by demonstrators looking to strike a nerve. The company is the largest asset manager in the world, managing more than $10 trillion.
CNN reported that protesters marched into Le Centorial Block carrying flares and firecrackers.
The Telegraph reported that railway workers’ union members set off the incendiary device in the Centorial building atrium, filling it full of smoke.
Happening in France this morning.
Railway workers have taken over BlackRock’s headquarters in Paris.pic.twitter.com/unwYeH1YS3
— Zineb Riboua (@zriboua) April 6, 2023
Near BlackRock’s third-floor office, around 100 people, some unionists included, shouted and chanted. While some sang labor songs, others regurgitated anticapitalist slogans.
“The meaning of this action is quite simple. We went to the headquarters of BlackRock to tell them: the money of workers, for our pensions, they are taking it,” Jerome Schmitt, spokesman for French union SUD, told BFM-TV.
Schmitt stated that the meaning of the incident was simple. However, other protestors derived different meanings.
According to the Telegraph, one protestor cited BlackRock’s connections with companies that allegedly harm our environment as the reason for his fiery ingress.
Another reason was the accusation that BlackRock’s chairman tried to end the French pension system.
JUST IN: 🇫🇷 $10 trillion asset manager BlackRock Paris headquarters taken over by protestors. pic.twitter.com/n6Bcnp4i1W
— Watcher.Guru (@WatcherGuru) April 6, 2023
According to The Guardian, hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen marched after talks between French President Emmanuel Macron and trade unions failed.
Cyril Chabanier representing eight of the country’s main unions said that during the talks, she had told the prime minister “We again stated that the only democratic outcome would have been the text’s withdrawal.” The prime minister responded that she wanted to retain the text. This was a serious decision.
Macron, an ex-Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, unilaterally took action in March. He bypassed a parliamentary vote to force his unpopular pension plan.
Bloomberg reported that a January Elabe poll found that almost three-fifths (35%) of Frenchmen were against the pension reform. This poll also revealed that 46% of respondents were willing to participate in planned protests and that most sympathized with them.
His government argued that this would keep the pension system from going into deficit. France is the European country with the lowest age limit for receiving a state pension.
Reuters reported that Macron’s close friend claimed that if the president of the republic has to decide according to public opinion, then there is no need for elections. … President is to make decisions that are not popular at the time.
While protests were peaceful in January and March, including the March 7 demonstration that saw 1.28 million people turn out, Macron’s March 16 parliamentary bypass caused significant clashes between law enforcement officers and demonstrators.
On March 23, there were 80 arrests, and 123 officers were injured. Recent incidents have seen property damage, fires, and barricades as well as smoke bombs.
Protests continue to take place across France against Macron’s pension reform (and many other issues). Just look at the scale of the protests in Toulouse.pic.twitter.com/4j368gEe0D
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) April 6, 2023
Sophie Binet, general secretary to the CGT union, stated that the government would not be able “to run the country” if it didn’t retake the reform.