French public divided over pension reforms
The French government's plans to reform the pension system have attracted widespread criticism, although not everyone opposes them. The BBC has been finding out people's views in Paris and in the northern city of Lille:
Annick Ruquois - retired (Paris)
I'm here (at a demonstration) partly because of the reforms, but also against (French President Nicolas) Sarkozy. Everything's wrong with these reforms - Sarkozy makes politics for the rich. I'm ashamed when I see him on the TV! The deputies in the government are allowed to retire at 50, with a huge salary. It's unjust! The government has money, but they want the people to pay.
Frederic Deraed - insurance worker (Lille)
We shouldn't think it's still acceptable to stop working at 60 years old - we should work till 65. Like other European countries, we have to work longer than 60 years... I haven't really been affected by the protests - the most difficult thing has been the strikes on the trains. I don't travel every day, so I can change my meetings around. It's more complicated for people who travel every day.
Arnaud Briand - psychiatrist (Paris)
They're asking us to work more to earn less. We're going to retire too late to be able to live with any of our pension anyway. It's already really hard when you're training and working as a doctor and you don't earn much, so this just makes it even harder... There's really a huge gap here between the rich and the poor, I see it in my hospital. As a psychiatrist, I treat a lot more poor people than rich people. The rich go to clinics and the poor go to the madhouse.
Nadine Gestas - housewife (Lille)
The strike action is completely useless. We can't pay the pensions and we can't avoid increasing the age of retirement. I don't use the trains, I don't use public transport, and I don't work, so I don't get a pension anyway. Every country in Europe is raising the age of retirement.
Karima Yekhlef - local government worker (Lille)
Working conditions are not the same for everyone and some jobs are more difficult. The government should understand that it's not possible for those people to work for two years more than the current retirement age.
India Nop - teacher (Paris)
People are very angry - about the pensions, but also about what Sarkozy has done or failed to do in his time in office. We know something has to be done, we need reforms, but this isn't a good way to do it. Reforms need to be carried out, but not so harshly, not so fast, and not behind people's backs - that's how people feel. We know we may have to work longer or do things another way, but also that there is money being wasted elsewhere.
Frederic Jedryka - teacher (Lille)
This is about retirement, but it's also about a lot of other problems that people in France are disappointed about. And in fact we are French - perhaps English people might say nothing but the French always will go to the street to say it. And sometimes I think all the European countries are looking at France and thinking that we say the things that they don't in their own countries.