France's President Emmanuel Macron was under pressure on Friday (March 24) to find a way out of a crisis that has seen some of France's worst street violence in years over a pension bill he has pushed through parliament without a vote, Reuters reports.
In Paris and many cities across the country, clean-up crews sifted through broken glass, charred garbage cans and bus stops with shattered glass, after violent clashes overnight between black-clad anarchists and police.
Some 441 police officers were injured and 475 people were arrested. Dozens of protesters were also injured, including a woman who lost a thumb in the Normandy town of Rouen.
The protest rallies that gathered large crowds throughout the day were otherwise largely peaceful.
Opinion polls show a wide majority of voters are opposed to delaying retirement age by two years to 64. They were further angered by the government deciding to skip the vote in parliament.
On a shattered McDonald's window, someone had tagged "49.3" in big red letters, referring to the constitutional clause the government enacted to pass the reform bill with no vote in parliament, a move that unleashed public anger. Other tags seen on burnt down newspaper kiosks and damaged shop windows read "Anti-Macron" and "Macron, resign."
Unions have called for regional action over the weekend and new nationwide strikes and protests on Tuesday (March 28), the day Britain's King Charles is due to travel to Bordeaux from Paris by train on a state visit.