Right to free speech and assembly
On 16 March 2023, President Emmanuel Macron moved to force through a new law on the national pension age without holding a vote in the French Parliament. The President resorted to the use of anti-democratic special constitutional powers (contained in article 49.3 of the French Constitution) to push forward his government’s plan to raise the retirement age of French citizens from 62 to 64. Macron’s decision to invoke this controversial constitutional tool was in direct response to the powerful and united labour movements. Millions of French people have forcefully affirmed their opposition to the legislation through weeks of demonstrations and strikes. These mass mobilisations were supported by a large majority of the population and almost all workers. However, the government responded by using illegal requisitions of staff in several sectors, while police forces brutally repressed peaceful demonstrations, using tear gas and batons to violently beat up protesters. Hundreds of people have been arbitrarily arrested in a clear attempt by the authorities to intimidate protestors from continuing to express their demands.