A Corsican ferry that had been occupied by striking sailors is returning to Marseille after French commandos took control of the ship.
Five helicopters were used to land around fifty men on ropes, in an operation praised for its non-violent conclusion by the French interior minister.
The raid sparked a protest in one of Corsica’s two principal cities, Bastia. The SNCM ferry was commandeered from the port of Marseille. But the French military soon spotted it, and to avoid capture the ferry did not attempt to dock, but weighed anchor overnight at the entrance to the harbour.
The action was a further protest against privatisation plans proposed by the French government.
SNCM is to be sold off at a bargain price of 35 million Euros to the investment company Butler Capital Partners.
In Bastia, violence erupted as the strike went into its second night.
SNCM workers have blockaded both Bastia and Marseille over fears of job losses.