Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fisherman clash with police

Police guard France's agricultural ministry against protesting fishermen 21/05/08
French police guarded the ministry from angry fishermen

French fishermen have clashed with police in Paris as they stepped up protests over rising fuel costs.

Protesters threw flares and police fired tear gas outside the agriculture ministry, where Minister Michel Barnier was meeting fishing unions.

Ferry traffic with the UK has also ground to a halt, with fishing fleets blockading several French ports.

Meanwhile, a major strike against President Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reforms is set to begin.

Workers are due to walk out for 36 hours, starting on Wednesday evening, to protest against government plans to make people work 41 years, rather then the current 40, before being able to draw a full pension.

Price cap

The fishermen's blockade began more than a week ago, and was originally confined to a few ports like La Rochelle on the west coast.

But it spread until, on Wednesday, Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk on the north coast, all serving cross-Channel ferry services to Britain, were isolated by a ring of fishing boats.

The fishermen say rapidly rising prices for diesel threaten them with bankruptcy. They are demanding a greater subsidy from the government, in effect putting a cap on prices.

In January the government approved an aid package for fishermen worth 310m euros (£248m) over three years.

Mr Barnier is seeking approval from the EU commission to give state aid to the sector.

But fishermen say that agreement is redundant, since fuel has become 30% more expensive since the start of the year.

As the minister met union representatives in Paris on Wednesday, as many as 200 fishermen gathered outside.

Dozens of flares were thrown, injuring up to four policemen, according to reports.

Riot police surrounded the building and responded with tear gas.

Sarkozy confident

The fishermen's protest came as the government is facing industrial action from various sectors.

French teachers protest against proposed cuts in Paris
French teachers say cuts in numbers affect quality

Port workers plan a strike for Thursday against privatisation - which is likely to exacerbate the problems caused by the fishing blockade.

Thursday will also see major action by rail, postal, utility and other public sector workers across France.

They are protesting against plans to extend the retirement age.

It follows a teachers' strike against job cuts last week.

Unions are hoping that a head of steam is building up against Mr Sarkozy's economic reform plans, says BBC correspondent Hugh Schofield in Paris.

But the president has so far made the calculation that most people accept the changes that he has promised, and there is no sign of him backing down, says our correspondent.

--From the BBC


L said...

Mary, just wanted to thank you for your book, unique in its ability to inspire without being cloying. Am amazed by your blog & hope to be able to follow it.

Duane said...

Hello Mary,

My name is Duane Spears and I found your book at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas at the annual spring yard sale held on the Base as some of the Military are preparing to rotate to another Military Base.

I bought it on Saturday and finished it in two days. It was the best 25 cents I have ever spent. lol It was so worth reading I feel I should send the full price of the book to you. :-)

Who are we, what are we? I have wondered about that all my life and have come to the conclusion that we are simply spirits and we create our worlds and lives based on what we think and what we do with what we think. We are not our behavior, emotions, thoughts or anything of the other things we can observe. If we can observe it we are not it.

Now of course, I understand everything I just wrote may not be true, but I do believe it is.

Mary, I hope you have found that person that fills your heart and life with love, joy and adventure.

I sure enjoy your adventure and truly am impressed with you and your powers of thought.


Duane Spears

淑慧 said...

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour. ....................................................


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