France activates fuel supply crisis cell: government
France activated Monday an emergency government crisis cell charged with maintaining fuel supplies amid a strike that has shut down refineries and blocked storage depots, the interior ministry said.
Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux decided to "activate from today the inter-ministerial crisis centre in order to assure the continuity of petroleum supplies," a statement said.
Petrol distribution bodies UIP and UFIP said separately that pumps were starting to run out, with the UIP estimating that 1,500 out of 4,000 major service stations were affected.
Most of France's oil refineries shut down production last week as part of a nationwide movement against plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, and protests escalated Monday with truck drivers blocking access to depots.
© 2010 AFP