France is expecting a new round of demonstrations hosted by trade unions over President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension reform next Tuesday before a key vote in Senate.
The French General Confederation of Labor (CGT) union claimed that about 2.5 million people participated in demonstrations and strikes across France last week, but police put the figures at 850,000.
CGT promised to take close to 3.5 million people to the streets for the coming protests on Tuesday. “The movement is always serene because we believe that several million people support us,” said CGT General Secretary Francois Chereque, according to the union’s website.
The unions are demanding that the government suspend passing the pension reform and open a dialogue to discuss the issue. French Prime Minister François Fillon declined any suspension of the debate, saying that unions were refusing to discuss the issue, according to RTL Radio.
“I do not know if it will be voted on Wednesday, but it will be voted [on],” Fillon said as reported by RTL Radio.