French police fired tear gas at protesters in the western city of Nantes in one of the biggest public sector strikes in decades over reforms to the pension system on Thursday December 5th.
Transport networks in Paris and other French cities have been almost completely halted by union protests threatening to cripple France for days, posing the biggest challenge to Macron's reforms since the "yellow jackets" protests began.
Before a march in Nantes, some protesters threw projectiles at police, who responded with tear gas and arrests, Reuters reported.
Through a statement, The French Interior Ministry estimated there are at least 25,000 protesters in Marseille, 20,000 in Montpellier and Bordeaux, and 19,000 in Nantes.
According to the police, the total number of people observed in today's demonstrations is at least 285,000 in nearly forty cities. There have already been multiple arrests reports.
The strike is expected to continue until at least Sunday amid calls for an open strike. The French National Railway Company announced the suspension of 90% of intercity rail connections.
Moreover, a large number of universities and schools in major cities closed due to the inaccessibility of students to classrooms, and traffic was heavily congested due to pressure on the main roads.
A similar strike in Paris last September was the biggest since 2007, when public transport workers went on strike to veto a pension reform under former President Nicolas Sarkozy.