French police force open fuel depot as senate prepares to vote on pension bill
Top story: French police forced open a blockade of the country’s main fuel refinery today as France’s nationwide strikes continued to intensify. Nonetheless, the French Senate is planning a vote today on President Nicolas Sarkozy‘s controversial pension reform measure, which will raise the retirement ate from 60 to 62 and the age at which workers receive pensions from 65 to 67. Even if the bill passes, which appears likely, unions are planning further days of action on Oct 28 and Nov. 6.
Unions say the marches this week drew around 3.5 million people. Support for the strikes is running around 70 percent according to the latest polls. The leader of the oil workers’ union drew condemnation for comparing Sarkozy’s actions to the roundup of Jews during Nazi-occupied France.
The union had blocked off the fuel depot for 10 days until police breached the blockade today. The French government says fuel shortages at service stations throughout the country will continue for several days.