French Police Break Key Strike Blockade

The protests may be coming to an end. French riot police have taken back control of a key refinery from protesters. As unions across France remain on strike, protesting the government’s plans to increase the retirement age from 60 to 62 and the full state pension age from 65 to 67, French riot police descended upon the Grandpuits fuel refinery east of Paris—one of 12 facilities under protest—which strikers had blockaded for 10 days. The police were ordered by President Nicolas Sarkozy to convince the men to lift the blockade due to a major petrol shortage in France. Union official Charles Foulard is crying foul at the refinery reopening, claiming police acted in the middle of the night when there were few protesters, and that the workers had been forced by the authorities to go back to work under an emergency order threatening prosecution. The police briefly clashed with workers, resulting in two injuries, and one man was taken away by ambulance.