French Protesters Stormed The Headquarters Of This Luxury Giant

A crowd of demonstrators entered the Paris base of this luxury megabrand, setting smoky flares within the building’s premises.

The political unrest within France has yet to reach a conclusion, as protesters continue to show their displeasure over President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the country’s pension age from 62 to 64 despite the rising inflation and cost-of-living crisis. 

As a result, the streets of Paris have been lined with garbage, as trash collectors and sanitation workers joined the protest against the 45-year-old president’s actions. Such acts are not uncommon in the midst of demonstrations, as protesters strive to make a statement in order to get their message across. 

Recent examples from the French demonstrations include burning a Mercedes car and bins in the city of Rennes, blockading a major oil refinery in Normandy, and setting the Bordeaux city hall on fire

The latest act done by protesters has been the storming of luxury giant LVMH’s headquarters on Thursday. Some of fashion’s most prestigious brands are under LVMH, including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Tiffany & Co., Fendi, Givenchy, and Bulgari, among many others. In fact, LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault is 2023’s richest man in the world, with a fortune that exceeds $200 billion, according to Forbes

Bernard Arnault
LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault during an event held inside LVMH’s Paris headquarters in 2018/Photo via Instagram @lvmh

Storming Headquarters

Demonstrators made their way into LVMH’s headquarters—which is found along Avenue Montaigne in Paris—through an escalator that led to the reception area. Protesters then lit up red flares within the premises as a form of demonstration. 

“You’re looking for money to finance pensions? Take it from the pockets of billionaires,” shared trade unionist Fabien Villedieu with The Guardian, who was present during the LVMH break-in.

LVMH's headquarters in Avenue Montaigne, Paris
LVMH’s headquarters in Avenue Montaigne, Paris/Photo by UHG from Wikimedia Commons

While the protest did indeed make headlines, the demonstrators didn’t stay inside the building for too long. According to witnesses within LVMH’s headquarters, the protesters left the area by early afternoon. 

Conflicting Views

The French protests have been occurring weekly for months, with 380,000 demonstrators across the country and 42,000 of them within the capital city. The indignation towards Macron’s proposition was further exacerbated by his decision to push the legislation through parliament without a vote. 

According to the French president, the reform is one that aims to “rein in public finances,” as written in an article by CNN. He argued that it was necessary for the greater interest of the country. 

President Macron with the UK's prime minister, Rishi Sunak
R-L: President Macron with the UK’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak/Photo via Instagram @emmanuelmacron

Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, bolstered Macron’s justification in a statement with CNN: “We need to ensure to French citizens that there is a financial balance by 2030. This is the purpose of the reform.”

However, not all government leaders approve of the president’s decisions. Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, expressed her support for the protesters, stating that the reform was “unjust” and “violent.” 

“The French have been asking for it to be withdrawn for months, the government has to hear them,” Hidalgo wrote on Twitter.

Should Macron insist on sticking to his decision, protesters shared that their demonstrations will not end anytime soon. “As long as the pension reform is not withdrawn, the mobilization will continue one way or another,” stated Sophie Binet, the head of one of the country’s main unions, GGT. 

Banner Photo by UHG via Wikimedia Commons.

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