News / Europe

French Strikers Block Fuel Line, Protests to Continue

Strikers from the Donges' Total refinery and the nearby oil depot set up a blockade at the entrance of the refinery to protest against the French government pension reform in Saint-Nazaire, western France, 15 Oct. 2010
Strikers from the Donges' Total refinery and the nearby oil depot set up a blockade at the entrance of the refinery to protest against the French government pension reform in Saint-Nazaire, western France, 15 Oct. 2010

French riot police have forced through blockades of protesters to reopen fuel depots, even as French refinery workers cut a fuel pipeline to Paris and its airports in an escalating battle over pension reform.

Union workers shut down all of France's 12 oil refineries on a fourth day of protests Friday, intensifying fears of fuel shortages.

French Transport Secretary Dominique Bussereau sought to calm the situation, saying there would not be any supply problems. Oil companies have been allowed to tap into their reserves.

Police also moved to block student demonstrations outside the prime minister's office, as student unions joined the anti-government protests.

France's main truckers union has called on its members to back the growing labor action. Past trucker protests have blocked major roads and crippled France's infrastructure.

Workers' unions have called for nationwide demonstrations to continue Saturday and for another nationwide strike for Tuesday.

The French Senate will vote on the proposal to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 on Wednesday.

Public transportation ran smoother Friday as many workers returned to their jobs after taking to the streets on Tuesday. However, some rail workers continued to strike.

Despite repeated protests, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's government has refused to budge from a key reform plan, aimed at helping reduce the government debt.

Students and labor unions demand that Mr. Sarkozy abandon his pension reform, which they see as an attack on their social protections and an unfair burden on workers. There is also fear that delaying the retirement of older workers will worsen youth unemployment in France, which is more than 20 percent.

In the past, student protests have helped bring down major French government reforms.

The government also plans to increase the eligible age for a full pension from 65 to 67. France's retirement age is among the lowest in Europe.

Labor unions called an open-ended nationwide strike on Tuesday that caused major disruption to rail and air transport and shut down many schools, and brought more than one million people onto the streets.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid