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Paris Opera musicians serenade public in pension reform protest

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Striking musicians and singers of the Paris Opera staged an open-air concert on Saturday in front of the city's historic opera house in protest against a pension reform that seeks to end their special retirement scheme.

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Orchestra members and singers performed well-known airs by Verdi and Bizet in a half-hour event outside the Opera Garnier building, ending with a rendition of the Marseillaise.

The musicians were cheered on by colleagues including ballerinas who last month performed scenes from Swan Lake at the same spot in a similar protest over the proposed pensions overhaul.

The event drew applause from passers-by on a sunny winter's afternoon in the French capital, where performances by the Paris Opera have been cancelled for the past month due to the strike by artists who want to preserve centuries-old retirement provisions.

"We're so unhappy about not being able to give our shows that we're performing in a different way, in the street, to show the public that we're not on holiday," Fabien Wallerand, a tuba player in the Paris Opera's orchestra, told Reuters.

LOpera de Paris en grève, la Comédie Française en grève. Concert de lorchestre sur le parvis de lOpera et défilé des salariés devant les applaudissements du public. « La culture en danger » #Greve18janvier pic.twitter.com/7LedhqVYrZ

— Romain Lescurieux (@RLescurieux) January 18, 2020

Protesters clash with police elsewhere in Paris

Elsewhere in Paris, thousands of demonstrators, including “Yellow Vests”, took to the streets shouting slogans against police brutality, President Emmanuel Macron and his pension reforms. They were greeted with tear gas by French police on Saturday, which also arrested several people.

Police said 15 people were arrested after authorities tried to disperse a bloc at the head of the protest in northern Paris, before coming under a hail of projectiles, AFP reporters witnessed.

This was the latest of the weekly demonstrations held every Saturday by the "Yellow Vest" movement since November 2018, which have joined the opposition to the pension reforms.

"We're suffocating with this government who wants to putRead More – Source

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