Riot officers were dispatched to the violet carpet yesterday in Lille as nationwide protests against pension reforms hit Series Mania.

The protestors fighting against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans for reform were pushed back and order soon restored. However, unrest was seen by witnesses elsewhere in the historic city throughout the evening.

Deadline heard sirens and saw multiple police vans and ambulances heading to incidents and we’ve seen pictures on delegates’ phones of street fires and riot police clashing with protestors.

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By late evening, the roads were quiet again as the protests died down.

Civil unrest has sparked across France over plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 and Lille was unable to escape. The reforms were passed without a vote in parliament, igniting protests in cities such as Paris, Marseille and Lyon.

A general strike has been planned for Thursday (March 23), leaving many Series Mania delegates nervously looking at Thursday train timetables as the Forum comes to a close. Those travelling to Paris or other cities for flights could be impacted, according to national railway SNCF.

Eurostar is reporting several trains have been cancelled and more information can be found on its website. The nationwide action will “involve disruption across multiple sectors, including national rail services and it will have an impact on the availability of some of our crew,” according to the intra-national railway line.

Rubbish has also been piling up as refuse collectors join the strikes.

However, the unexpected unrest hasn’t dampened Series Mania delegates’ spirits, with the annual Federation Studios party well attended and other events busy and buzzy. Many stars such as Desperate Housewives actress Marcia Cross were in town, as the Forum got underway.

Meanwhile, the winner of the Co-Pro Pitching Session was unveiled.

Six-part Ukraine/Poland war thriller Unspoken was named the recipient of a €50,000 ($54,000) check after being selected by a jury led by President Caroline Hollick, the Head of Drama at UK network Channel 4.

Unspoken comes from Dmytro Sukhanovfrom Toy Cinema and Natalia Libet from 2Brave Productions in Ukraine and Anna Rożalska from Match&Spark in Poland. Zhanna Ozirna and Filip Syczyński are there writers.

Also on the jury were Michele Zatta, Commissioning Editor for Italy’s RAI; Françoise Guyonnet, Executive Managing Director TV Series at StudioCanal; Jarmo Lampela, Head of Drama at Finland’s YLE; and Lindsey Martin, the UK-based VP, Development and Co-Productions at CBS Studios International

“The winning project united the judges unanimously with the raw, emotional intensity of the storytelling. The powerful, relatable tale of a father prepared to go to any lengths to save his family was a bold and original take on the most urgent subject matter of our time,” said Hollick.

Series Mania began on Match 17 and runs until March 24.

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