French riot police clash with students as petrol stations run dry
French riot police and students fired tear gas and petrol bombs at each other while truckers blocked roads and almost 3,000 petrol stations ran dry, as nationwide protests intensified.
By Henry Samuel
18 Oct 2010
Despite claims that it had petrol provision “under control”, the government said it had activated an emergency crisis cell charged with maintaining fuel supplies.
The opposition Socialists criticised François Fillon, the prime minister, for failing to speak to the unions over proposed pension reforms, which would raise minimum and full retirement ages to 62 and 67.
“We have a prime minister who thinks he is Churchill but who is only Thatcher,” said Harlem Désir, the Socialists’ deputy leader. “He is trying to make us think he is carrying out great reforms to save our economy but in fact he is smashing our social model.”
The Socialists, like the unions, want to allow the French to continue to retire at 60 despite rising life expectancy, saying the shortfall could be filled by increasing tax on capital and the number of years a person paid into the system.