France grinds to halt in the biggest strikes of Macron's presidency. Rail and air transport as well as schools and policing hit by walkouts over pension changes
Emmanuel Macron is facing the biggest strikes of his presidency, as French rail workers, air-traffic controllers, teachers and public sector staff staged walkouts and took to the streets against proposed changes to the pension system.
Rail services almost ground to a halt, with 82% of drivers on strike and at least 90% of regional trains cancelled, amid fears that the open-ended transport disruption could continue for days. In Paris, 11 out of the 16 metro lines were shut, forcing commuters to scramble to hire bikes and scooters.
Many schools were closed and even some police unions warned of “symbolic” closures of certain police stations. Shops along the route of a march in Paris were advised to close in case of violence on the edges of the demonstration.
About half of the scheduled Eurostar trains between Paris and London have been cancelled. Tourists were turned away at the Eiffel Tower because of the strike.