Paris police ban protest rallies in city’s hotspots

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The Paris police on Saturday banned rallies at two of the hotspots of protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms, as thousands of people continued to demonstrate across the country against the measures.

For the last two evenings, people have gathered in the streets to protest the government resorting to the Article 49.3 of the French Constitution to force through the controversial pension reform bill that will raise the age of retirement from 62 to 64. More than 300 people have been arrested across the country, 258 of them in the Place de la Concorde in Paris, opposite to the French parliament.

“Due to serious risks of disturbances to public order and security … any gathering on … Place de la Concorde and its surroundings as well as in the area of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées is prohibited,” the police said, according to an AFP report. “People who try to gather there will be systematically evicted by the police” and may be fined, the report added.

This decision has not stopped demonstrators from taking the street and looking elsewhere to wave their banners and union flags. In the early afternoon on Saturday, opponents of the pension reform entered the shopping area of Les Halles in the center of Paris.

More demonstrations are taking place across the country, while in Paris a big rally is expected to start at 6 p.m. at Place d’Italie.