But President Emmanuel Macron insisted he would press ahead with the proposed pension reforms.

But President Emmanuel Macron insisted he would press ahead with the proposed pension reforms.

Workers in many French cities took to the streets on Thursday to reject proposed pension changes that would push back the retirement age,

Amid a day of nationwide strikes and protests seen as a major test for Emmanuel Macron and his presidency.

Amid a day of nationwide strikes and protests seen as a major test for Emmanuel Macron and his presidency.

Emboldened by the mass show of resistance, French unions announced new strikes and protests, vowing to try to get the government to back down on plans to push up the standard retirement age from 62 to 64.

French workers angry over proposed changes to retirement rules are halting high-speed trains, disrupting electricity supplies and taking to the streets.

Demonstrators from unions hold a banner reading in French "Withdrawal of this unfair pension reform" during a demonstration in Bayonne, southwestern France.

Macron says the measure- a central pillar of his second term- is needed to keep the pension system financially viable, but unions say it threatens hard-fought worker rights.

Retirees and college students joined the diverse crowd, united in their fear and anger over the reform.

Retirees and college students joined the diverse crowd, united in their fear and anger over the reform.