France burns as strike descends into violence…(Coming To A Country Near You!)
President Sarkozy vows to crush petrol blockades crippling country
By John Lichfield
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
France teetered on the edge of a complex and multi-layered crisis yesterday as petrol shortages worsened and violence by disaffected suburban youths spread and intensified.
Around 3.5 million people, according to unions – about the same or marginally fewer than last week – joined marches around the country to protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans to raise the retirement age to 62. One-day strikes in the public sector disrupted rail and air services but were patchily observed by workers in other sectors.
The sense of crisis threatening the country came not from these “official” protests but from spreading blockages of schools and universities by students and by continuing strikes at oil refineries and the picketing of fuel distribution depots by hardline union branches.