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Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 26 January, 2020

Riot police "liberate" fuel depot after days of protests in France

The protesters blocked an oil refinery in Marseilles over labour disputes.

FRENCH POLICE REOPENED an oil refinery after protesters blockaded it, causing gasoline shortages around the country.

The fuel depot in Fos-sur-Mer in Marseille was reopened in the early hours of the morning when police dislodged the trade union protesters.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Europe-1 radio that the site was “liberated” after days of blockades.

He added:

Other sites will be liberated, I’m very determined.

France Fuel Shortages Source: Claude Paris

Riot police arrived before dawn and there were reports of the use of water cannons and tear gas to remove the protesters.

Riot police were still in the area as trucks resumed operations at the refinery this morning.

France Fuel Shortages Source: Claude Paris/PA Images

The protesters had blocked the oil refinery due to labour law disputes between the CGT union and the french government.

The junior minister for transport, Alain Vidalies, said on i-Tele television that 20% of gas stations around the country are facing shortages as of Tuesday morning and unions are threatening to stop production at all of France’s eight refineries.

The protesters at the Fos-Sur-Mer site had built tyre blockades on the roads at the oil refinery, causing traffic congestions throughout the area.

Labour law reforms

The striking workers have pledged to keep fighting until the government withdraws its disputed labor reforms.

Part of the reforms will see increasing the 35 hour working week, putting a ceiling on unfair dismissal claims and make it easier for companies to get rid of staff for economic reasons.

The reforms have not been welcomed by the country’s workforce, since they were announced two months ago.

France Strike Source: AP/Press Association Images

Several protests have been held around the country, which have often led to incidences of violence.

Additional reporting from Jordan Kavanagh

Read: Fans travelling to the Euros could be hit by French transport strikes >

Read: Four charged with attempted murder after police car torched in France >

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Associated Press

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