Groups of activists late last week chose to storm the Paris-based officers of financial titan BlackRock as the country currently struggles to deal with ongoing protests taking place against the nation’s recent pension reforms.
The nation's people have been protesting for close to two weeks in the wake of French President Emmanuel Macron's choice to defy one provision of the nation's constitution in order to help strongarm a bill through parliament that sought to increase the age of retirement from where it sat at 62 up to 64. A number of labor unions, and many other entities, have chosen to come together to carry out organized nationwide strikes and protests as a direct consequence of the move, which spawned out of concerns for the state retirement fund's looming insolvency.
Protestors briefly went into the historic Le Centorial building, located in Paris, where BlackRock sports an office space on the third floor, and lit and tossed a number of firecrackers as they chanted slogans and demands. BlackRock is very well known as one of the premier retirement and pension management companies throughout the entire world.
"The government wants to throw away pensions, it wants to force people to fund their own retirement with private pension funds, but what we know is that only the rich will be able to benefit from such a setup," explained one teacher, Françoise Onic, as part of a Reuters interview.
The outlets went on to state that the protestors stayed within the building for just about half an hour, resulting in a trail of firecracker smoke hanging in the air throughout the atrium.
Multiple dozens of people stormed into the ground floor of the building, a number of whom were known to be representatives of labor unions.
"The meaning of this action is quite simple," expressed one union spokesman, Jerome Schmitt, as part of an interview with BFM-TV a CNN affiliate. "We went to the headquarters of BlackRock to tell them: the money of workers, for our pensions, they are taking it."
In the United States, BlackRock has found itself the target of fairly extreme criticism for the company's staunch support of the environmental, social, and corporate governance movement, better known as the ESG movement, which is very widely accepted in Western European nations such as France. Those wary of the movement have stated that such an investment philosophy intermixes political and social causes -- such as dropping carbon emissions or diversifying company leadership with respect to race or sex, in a manner that compromises or distracts from profitability for example.
These explosive protests have led to police forces utilizing tear gas along with looking into other methods to disperse more violent demonstrations, all in the past few days. One key event was reported by BBC News, in which the town hall of Bordeaux was set on fire as the protests began late last month.