French police break up oil depot blockade, prompt further strikes
Police in France have used water cannons to disperse protesters blocking an oil depot near the Belgian border, prompting further anti-labor reform strikes at nuclear plants.
Police on Wednesday tried to break up protests that have been going on since Thursday at Douchy-les-Mines in northern France.
“The police moved in quickly. They used water cannon. They cleared out all our barricades. The depot was unblocked without confrontation,” said Willy Dans, a spokesman for the local branch of the SUD group of trade union.
This came as a fifth of petrol stations across France ran dry and unions stepped up their strikes in a battle against the government-proposed labor reforms.
The police standoff with protesters across the country pushed workers at nuclear plants to meet on Wednesday to decide on joining the nationwide strike.
The CGT national trade union voted to begin a 24-hour strike at Nogent-sur-Seine nuclear plant, located southeast of Paris, later at 1900 GMT on Wednesday.
The government says the proposed labor reforms, which focus on maximum working hours, holidays as well as breaks, are aimed at boosting the country’s economy and curbing the high unemployment rate.