1. INFOGRAPHIC - France Ready For Strike Against Pension Reform last minute news
are face to face with what may be the largest strike in the country's history.
On the heals of the Yellow Vest protests, employees of various sectors are preparing to go on indefinite strike beginning Thursday to protest pension reforms by the government of French President Emmanuel Macron.
The walkout was sealed when the government announced its determination to implement pension reform despite pushback.
According to France's National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, Macron has further fueled the "sense of anger and rebellion" among French people against their presidents, with his economic policies that have given the wealthy a greater share of national income since his inauguration on May 17, 2017.
He has been facing the biggest crisis since the yellow vest protests.
The reform would lift the privileges granted to civil servants and gradually increasing the retirement age from 62 to 64. It is expected to adversely affect many sectors.
Long list of strikers
Among the strikers will be employees of national carrier Air France, state-owned Parisian public transport operator RATP, electricity company EDF that is largely owned by the government, state-owned national railway firm SNCF, and automobile manufacturer Renault.
Police, healthcare professionals, teachers, lawyers, taxi and freight drivers, postal workers, farmers, civil servants, refinery workers and students will also participate.
Over half of all schools across the country will be suspended, while nearly all commuter trains and buses will halt and or work in intermittently. Air France will cancel 30% of its flights.
The Yellow Vest protests started Nov. 17, 2018 in reaction to rising fuel costs and economic injustice, later spiraling into deadly anti-government riots.
Protesters used yellow vests, part of the standard safety kit in French cars, to make their members more easily visible.
The demonstrations left 11 dead and more than 4,000 injured including protesters and the police, according to government figures.
Activists claim that 24 protesters were blinded in one eye and that five lost one of their hands.
At least some 8,400 people have been arrested since the beginning of the Yellow Vest protests, and 2,000 were remanded into custody.
A total of 17 protestors were arrested in Toulouse and five people -- two police and three civilians -- were injured.
*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur -
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