PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron will explain how he will seek to overcome tensions prompted by his plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, as he speaks on national television for the first time since his government forced through the bill amid mass protests.
Macron is expected to back his government on Wednesday, two days after it survived two no-confidence votes at the lower chamber of parliament.
The 45-year-old French president repeatedly said that he was convinced the retirement system needed to be modified to keep it financed.
His decision last week to use a special constitutional power to push the bill through the legislative process without a vote infuriated many at parliament and across the country.
Since then, mostly small, scattered protests are being held every day in cities around France, some degenerating into violence, including in Paris.
Dock workers in Marseille on Wednesday blocked access to the city's commercial port — France's biggest — preventing trucks and cars from entering amid a heavy police presence.
Garbage was still piling up on some Paris streets as sanitation workers entered their 17th day of the strike. Authorities issued an order in recent days requiring some garbage employees to ensure a “minimum service” for health reasons.
Oil shipments in the country were partially disrupted amid strikes at several refineries in western and southern France. Gas stations in the country's southeast region are currently the most affected by shortages.
Unions have called for new nationwide protests and strikes on Thursday to demand that the government simply withdraw the retirement bill. High-speed and regional trains, Paris metro and other public transportation in major cities were expected to be disrupted.
The pension bill still needs to be reviewed by the Constitutional Council before it can take effect.