French pension protesters block Marseille airport

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Activists blocked access to Marseille's airport in the south of France Thursday, unions and airport officials said.

Demonstrators carrying armbands from the CGT and FSU unions occupied a key roundabout leading to the airport to stop vehicles passing, as part of the increasingly bitter protest against the government's pension reforms.

The action had already caused tailbacks of more than a kilometre early Thursday, with some travellers abandoning their cars to reach the terminals, an airport spokesman said.

But there were no plans yet to cancel flights, he added.

Staff from the airport and other industries -- such as refineries, steelworks and ports -- took part in the action, according to a union spokesman.

"All the access points are blocked," CGT official Medhi Rachid from the Total refinery at La Mede, in southern France, told AFP.

"There is huge mobilization. We will stay here until the CRS (riot police) come to move us."

The airport spokesman said the blockade was only a partial one, although it was causing large traffic queues. Protesters had set up the blockades at 5:00 am (0300 GMT) that morning, he added.

© 2010 AFP

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