Macron says France pension reform is necessary

STORY: "Do you think I enjoy doing this (pension) reform? No," Macron said in an interview aired on France's two biggest TV stations. "But there are not a hundred ways to balance the accounts ... this reform is necessary."

Protests against the bill -- which lifts the retirement age by two years to 64 -- have drawn huge crowds in rallies organized by unions since January.

Most have been peaceful, but anger has mounted since the government pushed the bill through parliament without a vote last week. The past six nights have seen fierce demonstrations in Paris and elsewhere with garbage bins set ablaze and scuffles with police.