Police in France have broken blockades at three fuel depots at Donges, La Rochelle, and Le Mans, restoring supplies, but all of France’s refineries remain shut down.
But for how long is not clear, as strikers returned this morning to renew their action in a game of cat and mouse that has passed off mostly peacefully. Many petrol stations in the country are now dry.
Yesterday the French prime minister told parliament his government would do everything in its power to maintain fuel supplies, and it would not back down in the face of industrial action and street unrest; today sees the start in the upper house of the final debate on the pension reforms that have mobilised the strikers;
“The government must ensure normal functioning of our nation because nobody has the right to take an entire country, its economy and its jobs hostage. The government will continue to dislodge protesters picketing the fuel depots which are being blocked and it will put into place a plan in order to supply fuel to the petrol stations,” said François Fillon.
The shortage of fuel has become the government’s most pressing problem, but the most visible one has been the scenes of violence in many cities as young people run riot.