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Sarkozy pledges help as fishermen's protests continue

Article published on the 2008-05-20 Latest update 2008-05-21 09:16 TU

French fishermen on strike(Photo : Reuters)

French fishermen on strike
(Photo : Reuters)

Sarkozy pledged help to subsidize petrol for fishermen after they stepped up ten days of protests by blocking three major fuel depots around the country, including France's largest oil depot in Marseilles. In the city's centre, hundreds of striking workers and port staff clashed with police on Tuesday as a port privatisation bill went before French Senate.

Sarkozy responded to protests by writing a letter to the national fishermen's association, pledging a three-year, 310-million-euro rescue plan for the fishing industry in France.

The current aid package to deal with rising fuel prices does not cover the recent hikes in the price of diesel to more than 70 euro cents per litre, up from 40 euro cents per litre last November.

Fishermen stepped up their protests before their meeting with Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Michel Barnier on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, fishermen used tyres and crates to block the Fos-sur-Mer oil terminal in Marseille. The protests turned violent after fishermen threw rocks, bottles and chairs from nearby cafes at police, who responded by firing teargas cannisters.

Another 50 fishermen set up roadblocks barring access to two fuel storage sites in Caen that supply the whole region of Normandy.

In the northern port city of Cherbourg, some 60 fishermen attacked fish displays in four supermarkets.

The fuel depot in the southern Aude region was blocked on Monday by protesting fishermen, adding to previous disruptions Sunday by fishermen in La Rochelle.

Strikers are planning to seal off the ports in Calais and Dunkirk on Wednesday, said Jean Thiebaut from the CFDT union.


...and earlier


Striking port workers in Le Havre.(Photo : AFP)

Marseilles port workers strike

2008-04-23 18:36 TU