Bordeaux town hall was set on fire as French protests over increasing the pension age persisted.
More than a million protesters, including 119,000 in Paris, took to the streets of France on Thursday, according to figures from the interior ministry.
80 people were detained nationally, while police used tear gas to disperse protesters in the nation’s capital.
The legislation that raised the retirement age by two years to 64 served as the impetus for the protests.
Bordeaux town hall is an important historical and cultural landmark, with a rich heritage dating back to the 1700s. The building was designed by architect Victor Louis, who is also credited with the design of the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, one of the most significant architectural achievements of the 18th century.
Next Tuesday’s protests are being planned by the unions to coincide with King Charles III’s state visit to the nation.
Unknown factors may have contributed to the fire, which was quickly put out by firefighters.
To allay any worries before the King’s visit, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin stated on Thursday night that security is not an issue and that the monarch will be greeted and received warmly, according to local news sources.
Bordeaux Mayor Vows to Rebuild Town Hall After Devastating Fire: Outrage and Solidarity from Across France
The Mayor of Bordeaux, Pierre Hurmic, expressed his deep sadness and shock at the incident, and vowed to rebuild the Town Hall as soon as possible. The Mayor also assured the public that the city’s administration would continue to function despite the loss of its historic building.
The incident has also drawn widespread condemnation from across the country, with many politicians and cultural figures expressing their solidarity with the city and its residents. President Emmanuel Macron also tweeted his support, stating that the “attack on Bordeaux’s Town Hall is an attack on the values of the Republic and our common heritage.”
While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, the incident has sparked concerns over the security of historic buildings and landmarks across France. It remains to be seen what measures will be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future, but the people of Bordeaux are determined to rebuild and restore their beloved Town Hall to its former glory.
According to the news agencies, police occasionally clashed with masked rioters who broke storefront windows, destroyed street furniture, and assaulted a McDonald’s restaurant during mainly peaceful protests in Paris.
An unconscious police officer was pulled to safety.
33 individuals were detained in the capital, according to a local news agency, which also stated that police deployed tear gas and were attacked with items and pyrotechnics.
The protest also caused delays in oil refineries, train travel, and the walkout of teachers and staff at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport.
The Palace of Versailles, where King Charles and the French president will dine next week, and other well-known tourist destinations including the Eiffel Tower were also closed on Thursday.
Before the French Revolution, in 1784, the municipal hall’s construction was finished. The structure is a well-known illustration of French baroque architecture from the 18th century.
The municipal hall is only one example where regular protestors’ rage has been on full show.
According to figures from the French Interior Ministry, 119,000 people marched through Paris on Thursday, the largest day of the strike, which involved a million people nationwide.
However, the General Confederation of Labor asserted that it was 800,000.
In the northern city of Rouen, a young woman was seen lying on the ground after sustaining a severe hand injury. She reportedly lost her thumb after being hit by a police “flash-ball” grenade used to disperse demonstrators, according to witnesses.
In the western towns of Nantes, Rennes, and Lorient, there were more conflicts.
The political left and unions have hailed the day as a victory, but it is unclear where things will go from here.
The administration is expecting that people would stop attending the protests as a result of the street violence.
The opposition claims that while protests won’t stop, unions must have a plan for the future rather than promise more days like Thursday.
Nine protest days have been held since January, and next Tuesday will be the tenth, according to French unions.
The strike of Parisian trash collectors, which was initiated on March 6 in opposition to the pension change, has been extended through next Monday.
Unrest erupted as the administration decided to ram the pension age increase through the lower chamber of parliament without a vote since it lacked an absolute majority there.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, backed the initiative and said that the modification was necessary.
Read More: Bordeaux Town Hall Set On Fire