Striking Paris Opera artists perform outdoor concert against pension reforms – while Macron flees theater amid protests (VIDEOS)
Approximately 200 theater workers staged the dramatic demonstration in front of an enthusiastic crowd, with the impressive opera house acting as a fitting backdrop, on a bright afternoon in the French capital.
200 travailleur·ses en grève de l’Opéra Garnier donnent un nouveau concert contre la réforme des retraites. Énormément de monde pour les acclamer. pic.twitter.com/MG9vrJ4tmA— Romain Jeanticou (@romainjeanticou) January 18, 2020
Large crowds of Parisiens turned out to support the strikers and watch the performance, which saw the artists play arrangements from the Trojan March by Hector Berlioz and Carmen by Georges Bizet.
The prestigious opera house has been on strike since December 5 as part of the industrial action against pension reforms that have swept France. Critics of the pension measures say they will force millions of people to work longer for a smaller pension.
Toute la magie puissante de la grande musique est au service de la lutte cet après-midi à l’Opéra de #Paris.C’est beau, la mélodie d’un peuple qui se lève en chœur 🎶✊#FiersDeLaGrève#Greve18janvier#GreveGenerale#Opera#Acte62#GiletsJaunespic.twitter.com/0v5IcczxzU— Marcel Aiphan (@AiphanMarcel) January 18, 2020
The remarkable display at the Palais Garnier came after French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife were rushed from the Bouffes du Nord theater on Friday night due to demonstrations.
Approximately 30 protesters tried to enter the theater in the 10th district of Paris after audience members tweeted that the Macron’s were present for the performance of ‘The Fly.’ Riot police rushed to the scene, and the Macrons “were secured” for several minutes.
"All together, general strike," the demonstrators shouted during the hour-long stand-off before the president and his wife left the scene under police escort.
Saturday also saw French police fire tear gas at ‘Yellow Vest’ protesters, as Paris again saw thousands of demonstrators march through the streets.
‘Yellow Vests’ shouted slogans criticizing Macron and his pension reforms during the latest installment of the weekly demonstrations which have been held every Saturday since November 2018.
"The street is ours," protesters chanted. "Macron, we're going to come for you, in your home."
Police said 15 people were arrested as they attempted to disperse a group leading a demonstration in northern Paris.
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