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Published on Dec 10, 2019
(5 Dec 2019) France’s vaunted high-speed trains stood still on Thursday, schools across the country shut down and the Eiffel Tower warned visitors to stay away as unions held nationwide strikes and protests over the government’s plan to overhaul the retirement system. Paris deployed 6,000 police for what’s expected to be a major demonstration through the capital, an outpouring of anger at President Emmanuel Macron for a reform seen as threatening the hard-fought French way of life. The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum warned of strike disruptions, and Paris hotels struggled to fill rooms. Subway stations across Paris were shuttered, complicating traffic - and prompting many commuters to use shared bikes or electric scooters instead. Many workers in the Paris region worked from home or took a day off to stay with their children, since 78 percent of teachers in the capital were on strike. Historic train stations stood empty, with about nine out of 10 of high-speed trains cancelled. Signs at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport showed “cancelled” notices, as Air France called off about 30 percent of domestic flights.