French Gov't Not Backing Down on Pension Protests

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PARIS, France -- France remains paralyzed after days of nationwide labor strikes. Workers are protesting the government's plan to raise the retirement age by two years. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the government can't afford to pay current union pension plans.

Across France hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of French citizens have come out in to protest -- some of them violently. They're sending a message that they are angry and upset about the legislation being considered right now in the French parliament.

The legislation being considered will raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 and the age when the French citizens get their full pension from 65 to 67. It would seem natural that it would concern only people close to retirement age, but it's French citizens of all ages --from old to young -- who are against this legislation they say it will change the French way of life. The unions have even convinced school children to join the protests, although some may not understand that they're protesting to give their money to retirees.

The nationwide protests are intended to paralyze the economy and bring the government to its knees. However, the government is not backing down, because it said it's run out of money. It's been funding the pensions with debt, and most economists agree with the government.

Non-French airlines have been warned to bring enough fuel to get home, in case fuel supplies are cut off.

"It's very stressful, wondering if we'll be able to fly out or not," said one U.S. tourist. "Hopefully, today is a good day and we didn't wait too long."

The French government said it has weeks of fuel reserves to keep the country supplied, despite the strikes. Still, neither side is budging, so eventually, one side is going to have to give in. The government has insisted it will not be the one to blink first.

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CBN News
Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Sr. Reporter

A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at