French protest blocks Mont Blanc tunnel
Protesting French livestock dealers blocked traffic through the Mont Blanc tunnel linking France to Italy.
CHAMONIX, France, April 11, 2008 - Protesting French livestock dealers blocked traffic through the Mont Blanc tunnel linking France to Italy on Thursday, the tunnel's operator said.
The dealers parked about 100 trucks on the French side of the tunnel at
4:30 am (0230 GMT) to press demands for compensation for losses incurred
during an outbreak of blue tongue disease.
"To prevent a buildup of vehicles in the zone affected by the protest on
the French side, traffic in the Mont Blanc tunnel was halted in both
directions," said a spokeswoman for the Mont Blanc tunnel operator.
The livestock union blocked the tunnel after Italy closed its border to
French veal on March 3, said Gerard Poyer, president of the FFCB livestock
Blue tongue, which affects ruminants such as cows and sheep is not a risk
to humans, but in animals it causes high fevers, mouth ulcers and swollen
Some 11,000 cases were registered in France at the end of 2007 and new
cases have recently been reported. The French government on Monday released
six million euros in aid for affected farmers.