About one hundred protesters briefly forced their way into the building housing BlackRock’s Paris offices last Thursday as part of the ongoing demonstrations against the government’s pension reforms, Reuters reported.
Footage posted online shows dozens of people, including representatives from several labor unions, entering the ground floor of the Centorial office building carrying red flares and firing smoke bombs.
The protesters only remained in the building for around 10 minutes and none of them made it to BlackRock’s offices on the third floor.
Nationwide protests sparked over the French government’s proposed pension reforms raising the retirement age from 62 to 64. The demonstrations have continued for weeks after the government triggered special powers to force the reforms through parliament without a vote last month.
Under the reforms, from 2027, citizens will be required to work 2 years longer to receive their full pension benefits from the state.
While BlackRock has no role in the pension reforms, the workers said they targeted the asset manager over its work for private pension funds, according to Reuters.
The French government says the reforms are necessary to prevent a looming funding deficit. But with the reforms coming at a time when the cost of living is increasing, workers have grown angry.
Throughout the country, rolling strike action has caused significant disruptions in transportation services, schools, and businesses since the beginning of the year.
In nationwide protests on March 23, demonstrators set fires, damaged property, and set off smoke bombs. At least 80 people were arrested and 123 police officers were injured.
According to the Interior Ministry, 11,500 police officers were deployed throughout the country for last Thursday’s protests.
While the pension reforms will increase the retirement age in France to 64, that is still lower than the norm in Europe and other Western countries where the retirement age is at least 65 and moving toward 67.