Tens of thousands of people joined the politically charged May Day marches across France on Sunday.
Protests have also centered on demands for higher wages, after an election season dominated by concerns over the cost of living and soaring fuel prices.
The protests were marred by clashes between anarchist groups and police in the capital, where a real estate office, bank branches and a McDonald’s restaurant were attacked.
A week after Macron beat far-right leader Marine Le Pen to win a second presidential term, unions and some activists and politicians have seized on traditional French Labor Day marches as a show of strength amid the rejection of some of his proposals, including a plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 or 65.
“It is important for us to mobilize and show that we will be ready to mobilize now and to go on rolling strikes so that this pension reform is withdrawn,” said Armelle Perthus, a 46-year-old teacher, during the meeting. walk in Paris.
Some marchers carried banners calling for “climate justice” and “retirement at 60”, echoing the manifesto of far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, narrowly relegated to third place in the first round of the presidential election, behind Le Pen.
Macron voter Quentin Blin, 28, said he joined protests in Paris out of curiosity after the election: “Everything is unstable, it’s so chaotic that I want to see what people think.”
Macron faces his first big challenge in June as he tries to win another parliamentary majority in legislative elections that would allow him to push through reforms. Left and right parties are looking for potential alliances to strip him of that power.
But the president, who has said he will seek to govern more conciliatoryly in his second term after criticism of his top-down style, could also face more protests. He said he wanted the pension reform to be in place by next year.
Mélenchon, who is trying to forge a left-wing alliance of the Communist Party, the Greens and the Socialists, was among the political leaders of the Paris rally.
“We have before us a [legislative] election that could allow us to defeat those who want to keep you working until 65,” he told his supporters. France’s centre-left Socialist Party, which reached its lowest ever score in a presidential election in the first round of voting in April, marched under the banner of “no to retirement at 65”.
Philippe Martinez, leader of the left-leaning CGT union, on Sunday called for more action to raise wages beyond a 2.65% increase in the minimum wage that began on May 1, after sliding inflation annual reached 4.8% in April.
Without pension reform, some economists and business leaders say, Macron will struggle to find the funds for other initiatives, including helping people struggling with fuel bills and as France prepares to large investments in renewable energies. The country devotes more of its economic output to pensions than most of its European neighbors.