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More than 250 arrested during protests in Paris

Police arrested 310 people in France, including 258 in Paris, during protests which erupted Thursday evening following the developments in the pension reform plan, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Friday.

Protests and clashes erupted in Paris after the French government used its special constitutional powers to force through controversial pension reforms without parliamentary vote.

"Opposing is legitimate, demonstrations are legitimate, but messing around is not," Darmanin told broadcaster RTL.

Darmanin also criticized the violence targeting the symbols of the state and the residences of parliamentary officials.

Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters from the Place de la Concorde near the parliament.

Groups of protesters set piles of rubbish and shops ablaze and hurled projectiles at police.

Following the evacuation of Place de la Concorde, protests continued in smaller streets nearby, where running battles with police were witnessed.

Protests and clashes also erupted in other cities such as Lyon and Rennes, according to Le Figaro newspaper.

Earlier on Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron decided to use Article 49.3 of the Constitution to adopt the controversial draft bill without a parliamentary vote.

After it was passed by the Senate, the final version of the draft bill was supposed to be taken up for parliamentary approval.

However, Macron held consultations with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, other ministers and heads of parliamentary groups of political parties to decide whether to use special constitutional powers to bypass the parliamentary process, Le Figaro reported.

Borne then headed to parliament to give a speech and invoke Article 49.3, which angered opposition members who previously said they would call a censure motion in case such a step was taken.

Lawmakers against the reforms walked out and the session was suspended.

They joined protesters, including leaders of major trade unions, at the Place de la Concorde.

Macron's decision to use the special constitutional powers was driven by the fear that lawmakers would be able to block the reforms, since the government does not have an absolute majority.

The reforms include raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 in 2030 and requiring at least 43 years of work to be eligible for full pensions.

The plan has triggered public outrage since it was revealed last year, with massive protests and strikes held across the country since January.

Source: Anadolu Agency