In France, a general strike is causing chaos in the capital just as Olympic inspectors are in the city to assess venues for the 2012 Games. Public sector workers are all taking industrial action against job cuts and the government’s plans to make the 35-hour working week more flexible. Large queues built up at railway stations this morning as only one train in four was serving Paris suburbs, and some services to cities in southern France were cut to a third.
Elsewhere, metro trains were delayed with some stations closed. There was also severe disruption at the country’s main airports where air traffic control staff have walked out.
The protest has no connection to Paris’s Olympic bid, but some commuters say it will give the inspectors a good insight into life in France. “People are always taken hostage by this type of action,” said one frustrated Parisian who added that she hopes France does not get the Games because “the country’s a total mess.”
Polls indicate most Parisians are behind the bid however, the organisers will no doubt be hoping to keep the inspectors away from the demonstrations themselves. The International Olympic Committee’s delegation has already visited Madrid, London and New York and will visit Moscow next week. Of the five contenders, Paris is widely tipped as the favourite to host the Games.