Protesters in Paris stormed a building housing the headquarters of BlackRock amid ongoing demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron’s contentious pension reform plans.
Following a breakdown in negotiations between the government and trade unions, railway workers among others took to the streets of France once again on Thursday, with between 600,000 and 800,000 protesters expected across the country.
After gathering at the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris, striking activists from the SUD-Rail and CGT trade union federations descended upon the historic building that previously served as the headquarters for the since absorbed Crédit Lyonnais bank, which now is the home to several major financial institutions, including BlackRock, the world’s largest asset holder, with some 10 trillion dollars under its management.
Entering the building amid a cloud of red smoke from flares at around noon local time, activists occupied the building, singing songs targeting BlackRock, in particular. The activists went on to shout the classic Antifa slogan: “Anti, anti-capitalist,” according to the Le Figaro newspaper.
Des manifestants envahissent le siège de #BlackRock à Paris #greve6avril #reformedesretraites@LucAuffret pour @LibreQg pic.twitter.com/ieutW8u8aF
— QG le média libre (@LibreQg) April 6, 2023
“There is only one way out: it is the withdrawal of the law, it is victory!” said Sud-Rail trade union delegate Fabien Villedieu.
According to initial reports, the activists cleared the building largely of their own volition within twenty minutes and left without causing any major damage.
🔴 Les cheminots envahissent la multinationale #BlackRock contre la réforme des retraites. #greve6avril pic.twitter.com/L4wxsR025E
— Clément Lanot (@ClementLanot) April 6, 2023
However, this was not the only financial institution to draw the ire of the Paris protesters, with activists from the anti-globalisation NGO Attac occupying the headquarters of the Natixis bank for approximately two hours.
The protesters carried a banner reading “tax fraud seriously harms our pensions,” in reference to an investigation into Natixis and four other banks for potential tax fraud by France’s National Financial Prosecutor’s Office.
🔥[Action en cours] LA FRAUDE FISCALE NUIT GRAVEMENT À NOS RETRAITES !
Ce matin, contre la réforme des retraites et contre l'évasion fiscale, l'intersyndicale d'Ivry et @attac_fr mènent une action au siège de Natixis. pic.twitter.com/uF6OCxGDqz
— Attac France (@attac_fr) April 6, 2023
Protests and union strikes in France began last summer during the beginning of the inflationary and cost-of-living crisis, which came in large part as a result of lockdowns instituted across the world, including in France, which has seen widespread anger among the public over the fact that billionaires, banks, and major businesses saw their balance sheets soar while the average worker was left poorer.
The latest insult to the working class in France was the decision by President Macron’s government to raise the retirement age to 64 years old using a constitutional loophole to pass it through the National Assembly without a vote after it became clear that it did not have the support of the majority of the parliament.
Macron has argued that it is necessary to raise the pension threshold in order to keep the generous welfare programme afloat, however, opponents have accused the former Rothschild banker turned president of protecting the interests of the elites by not raising taxes on the wealthy to cover the increased costs of the pension scheme.
Retraites: des agents de la mairie de Paris ont déversé des cadavres de rats devant l'hôtel de ville pic.twitter.com/XGi5NXN0oJ
— BFMTV (@BFMTV) April 5, 2023
In addition to targetting globalist financial institutions, the protests in Paris also targeted government buildings, including that of City Hall. In one of the more disturbing acts of defiance to date, striking rat catchers — who have had increased workload as a result of the tonnes of trash pilling up on the streets and therefore attracting more rats — threw the dead bodies of the rodents they caught at the City Hall building.
CTG trade union representative Natacha Pommet told Euronews that the rat catchers wanted “to show the hard reality of their mission” and that it demonstrated the wider anger growing against the government over stagnating salaries amid the cost of living crisis.
“All this anger brings together all types of anger,” she said.
Literal Dumpster Fire: Paris Warned of Rat Invasion as 10k Tonnes of Trash Pile Up Amid Strikes https://t.co/D0hYQnMEh6
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 19, 2023
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