France pension protests: Bordeaux town hall set on fire as protesters take to the street
Continuing protests over plans to raise the pension age in France resulted in the setting of Bordeaux town hall on fire.
More than a million people took to the streets across the country, with 119,000 in Paris alone.
Police used tear gas on protesters in the capital, and 80 people were arrested across the country.
The demonstrations were sparked by legislation raising the retirement age by two years to 64, and unions have called for further protests next Tuesday.
King Charles III is due to visit the southwest city of Bordeaux on that day, where a fire engulfed the front door of the town hall on Thursday evening.
It is not yet clear who was responsible for the blaze.
Demonstrations across France
In Paris, peaceful demonstrations were occasionally disrupted by clashes between police and masked rioters who vandalised property and attacked a McDonald’s restaurant. Popular tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles were closed on Thursday.
Train travel, oil refineries, and work at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport were disrupted due to the unrest.
In Rouen, a young woman was injured and lost her thumb after being hit by a “flash-ball” grenade fired by police to disperse protesters, as witnessed by others.
Other clashes occurred in Nantes, Rennes, and Lorient in western France.
One protester in Nantes stated that “the street has a legitimacy in France”, and expressed frustration towards President Macron’s actions.
Despite the unrest, French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne has defended the pension reform as a necessity.