MOSCOW, Jan. 20 (Sputnik) - About 1.12 million people took part in protests against pension reform in France on Thursday, French media reported, citing the country's interior ministry.

According to the French Interior Ministry, nearly 1.12 million people joined the protests across France, 80,000 of them in Paris alone. Earlier in the day, Philippe Martinez, general secretary of the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) trade union, estimated the total number at 2 million, with 400,000 protesters in Paris.

More than 200 demonstrations took place across France on Thursday amid a nationwide strike against pension reform, at the initiative of eight leading French trade unions (CFDT, CGT, FO, CFE-CGC, CFTC, Usa, Solidaires, FSU). The largest protests were held in Paris, Marseilles, Lyon, Toulouse, Lille and Nantes.

A large-scale protest began at the Republic Square in Paris at 13:00 GMT. The demonstrators included representatives of various industries, supporters of the Yellow Vests movement, as well as black bloc radicals. The protests turned violent after radicals began throwing stones, bottles, flares and firecrackers at the police. In response, the police used tear gas and began to push the crowd back by force. Police arrested 38 people in Paris so far.

On January 10, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne presented a pension reform bill that should be passed in 2023. According to the draft legislation, the retirement age will increase by three months per year starting September 1, 2023.