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France braces itself for more street protests

France braces itself for more street protests
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Burning cars, street protests and widespread disruption – more of the same is expected today as pressure mounts on the French Senate ahead of a vote this week on controversial pension changes.

Clashes between police and marchers could be repeated as unions organise a sixth day of street demonstrations against a proposed two year hike in the nation’s retirement age.

But President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking at a summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, remains resolute.

“The reform is essential,” said Sarkozy. “France is committed to it and France will go ahead with it just as our German partners did a few years ago.”

Around 70 per cent of the country says it supports the strike action despite the disruption to road and rail transport by truck and train drivers. But the centre-right government says it is standing firm.