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Scuffles at Paris refinery as riot police sent in

Scuffles at Paris refinery as riot police sent in
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French riot police have forcibly cleared access to the main oil refinery supplying Paris.

Scuffles broke out at the Grandpuits refinery south-east of the capital at first light. The police cleared pickets and a barricade of burning tyres.

The authorities had served a legal decree during the night, requisitioning the oil supplies and effectively forcing the strikers back to work.

Work at all of France’s 12 refineries has been disrupted by stoppages.

The 11 days of strikes and fuel depot blockades have forced the closure of one in five petrol stations across the country. Queues began to form in and around the French capital before dawn this morning.

The unions, concerned over planned pension reforms, are hoping that a show-of-force, like here in Paris yesterday, will tip the scales and force the government to back down.

But there is no sign of either side doing so.