French police reopen fuel depots blocked by strikes
French police on Friday moved in to reopen three fuel storage depots blocked by striking workers, but strikers threw up new pickets at other distribution centres across the country.
The police action came a day after the government tried to calm fears of fuel shortages amid reports of panic buying after eight of France's 12 refineries shut down operations because of strikes.
Workers at a depot in Fos-sur-Mer, near the Mediterrean city of Marseille, did not resist when police intervened to reopen a facility that had been shut since Thursday by workers protesting over pension reform, unions said.
Police also reopened depots at Bassens in the southwest and Cournon d'Auvergne in the centre of the country.
But strikers threw up pickets at at least three more fuel depots on Friday, at Caen and Ouistreham in the north, Le Mans and Vern-sur-Seiche in the northwest, and La Rochelle on the Atlantic coast.
France's main unions have upped the ante in their fight against pension reform, calling for their members and supporters to hold the fifth in a series of strikes and street rallies next Tuesday.
The latest national protest on Tuesday brought more than a million people on to the streets and another major day of action is planned for Saturday, but the government shows no sign of backing down.
© 2010 AFP