Protesters threw lit flares at riot police, who in turn used tear gas, in Paris on Thursday, as thousands of people hit the streets as part of the nationwide strike against French President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform plans.

Macron's government is reportedly aiming to introduce a universal pension system but trade unions say that this will result in millions of private sector workers having to work beyond the legal retirement age in order to get a full pension.

The 'Yellow Vests' protesters who have been holding weekly rallies against Macron across the country have vowed to join the union-led demonstrations.

The nationwide strike is one of the biggest to hit the country in years.

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