French Protesters March In Paris As Lawmakers Vote

The French Senate adopted new rules Thursday to speed up voting on a controversial pension reform bill that has sent more than a million people onto the streets in protest.

Thousands of people demonstrated in central Paris on Thursday as protesters and lawmakers went down to the wire in a battle over the bill. Protest leaders said they planned to march close to the Senate.

Lawmakers, trying to wade through more than 1,000 amendments -- many put up by opposition senators to try to derail the bill -- will group them together rather than voting on each one, Labor Minister Eric Woerth announced.

He said debate on the bill had gone on longer than on any other law since the Fifth Republic came into existence in 1958. The bill would raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, among other changes.

About 4,000 people -- mostly students -- were out demonstrating against it on Thursday, police estimated.

The march was largely peaceful, CNN's Phil Black at the scene reported, although there were confrontations between students on the one hand and riot police and undercover police in the crowd on the other.

The protesters marched through the city, blocking intersections as they headed for Denfert Rochereau, a central Paris square that has seen many demonstrations over the years."