(Bloomberg) -- French President Emmanuel Macron criticized mounting violence at recent protests against his plan to reform the pension system, calling on opposition political leaders to join him in condemning it.

“There have been unacceptable scenes of violence these last weeks,” he said during a trip to the Alps to set out a nationwide plan to preserve water as the country braces for another summer of droughts.

“Violence is becoming a sort of habit among some people,” he said. “We must show great firmness in combating it. Nothing justifies violence in a democratic society.”

A backlash against Macron’s plan to raise the minimum retirement age by two years to 64 has escalated since the government said on March 16 it would bypass a vote on the bill in the National Assembly, leading to clashes between protesters and riot police. France’s Constitutional Council plans to rule on the legislation on April 14.

Referring to violent clashes in western France last weekend over the construction of large water reservoirs that campaigners say will provide irrigation for the agriculture industry at the expense of the water table, aggravating droughts, the president condemned the events.

“You have thousands of people who simply came to wage war,” Macron said. “It’s unacceptable.”

A survey of 940 adults via Internet on March 27-28 by pollster Ifop for Paris Premiere showed that 35% consider it’s sometimes necessary to resort to violence to protest.

--With assistance from William Horobin.

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