Labor unions and various activist groups will likely continue their ongoing campaign of strikes and protests against pension reform across France through at least late March. Disruptive demonstrations broke out in cities nationwide March 16 in reaction to the government’s invoking Article 49.3 of the French Constitution in an attempt to pass the pension reform without the need for a vote in the National Assembly; clashes broke out and police resorted to using teargas in several locations, including Paris, Dijon, Grenoble, Rennes, and Amien. Moreover, a coalition of major labor unions plans to stage new demonstrations March 18-19, as well as another nationwide day of strikes and protests on March 23. The events will likely draw large crowds of participants.
The unrest shows no signs of abating and the government has given no indication of willingness to abandon its pension reform initiative; hence, both planned and ad hoc protests will probably continue through at least the end of March. Authorities will almost certainly maintain an increased security presence near any demonstrations that materialize, as well as near government buildings. Large crowds and associated security measures, including road closures and movement restrictions, will result in localized transport disruptions. Clashes between activists and security services are possible; riot police may use tear gas or similar measures against unruly crowds.
Confirm all transport reservations as well as public- and private-sector appointments through late March, including at public health centers and other government facilities. Do not check out of accommodations until onward travel is confirmed. Avoid all demonstrations as a routine security precaution and to mitigate personal exposure to any associated disruptions. Allow extra time for travel in major cities. Heed instructions from local authorities and leave the area at the first sign of a confrontation.