'French Spider-Man' Scales Paris Skyscraper in Support of Pension Strikes

The free climber known as the “French Spider-Man” scaled the Tour Total, a 48-story skyscraper in Paris, on January 13, in an act used to demonstrate support for striking workers railing against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension-reform plans.

Alain Robert’s stunt, which captured the attention of a large number of Parisians, saw him reach the top of the 179-meter tower before triumphantly raising his arms in celebration.

“I am trying to use my fame for something I find meaningful,” Robert told Reuters.

On January 11, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe offered a concession in the hope of ending the protests, which have “crippled” public transport in the French capital over several weeks.

The compromise would see the most divisive part of the plan – raising the age to be eligible for a full pension from 62 to 64 – reviewed. According to Euronews, Philippe “wrote to social partners and French unions and said he was willing to temporarily cut their proposal to transition to a retirement age of 64 from 2022.”

This drew varied reactions, with one union calling it a “smokescreen,” according to the BBC, while others felt it showed a willingness to compromise on the government’s part.

This footage of Robert’s Tour Total stunt was captured by journalism student Guillaume Pannetier. Credit: Guillaume Pannetier via Storyful