Five people have been arrested by French police after the doors to the city hall of Bordeaux were set on fire on Thursday evening amid ongoing country-wide protests against increasing the state pension age.
The fire was lit in the evening, with the first person arrested, a 25-year-old, caught throwing objects at the fire in order to try and make it spread around 8:30 p.m.
In total, five people were arrested at the scene and are currently in the custody of the zonal directorate of the judicial police for the south-west, which is investigating the detainees for acts of arson, Sud Ouest reports.
Investigators say that two of the suspects in the incident are homeless people in their twenties. Two others are said to be aged 16 and 19.
It remains unclear whether any of the suspects were the ones who started the fire, or if they simply tried to make it spread by throwing objects onto it.
🔴 La mairie de Bordeaux incendiée #greve23mars #Manifestation #Revolution #Macron13h #ReformeDesRetraites #manif23mars pic.twitter.com/T1Zd9zY0Y0
— Anonyme Citoyen (@AnonymeCitoyen) March 23, 2023
The five arrests came after four others were apprehended by police in the city following the end of a demonstration against the recent pension age increase pushed through by the government of President Emmanuel Macron, which used an article of the constitution to pass the legislation without a vote in the National Assembly.
Among those arrested earlier in the evening in Bordeaux was a 50-year-old man who allegedly set fire to a barricade, a 43-year-old homeless man who threw objects at police, a 17-year-old and a 23-year-old who also threw objects at officials, and a 23-year-old woman who attacked police and tried to spread fires.
Bordeaux was not the only city to see rioting and urban violence on Thursday evening, however. In Nantes, significant damage was caused to the local administrative court, which was also ransacked by demonstrators.
Rioters in Bordeaux, France set the city hall on fire on Thursday night as part of mass protests against the raising of the retirement age from 62 to 64. pic.twitter.com/OYf2QGAprc
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) March 24, 2023
As many as 80,000 people marched on the streets of Nantes on Thursday to protest the retirement age being increased, with the protest described as the largest mobilisation since the demonstrations against Macron’s scheme began several weeks prior.
Johanna Rolland, Mayor of Nantes, spoke out and condemned the violence, saying: “People who commit these unjustifiable acts penalize the message peacefully carried by thousands of people for two months.”
Despite the protests, Macron has stood firm on his decision to force through the controversial pension changes, claiming that he had no regrets despite days of rioting and protests.
WATCH: Macron Proclaims to ‘Regret Nothing’ as Fiery Protests Spread Across France Despite Police Ban https://t.co/QvmpMNA4Wx
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 19, 2023