A1 blocked by Roma protest
Motorway linking Paris to Channel is closed in the Somme, on one of busiest travel weekends of the year
HUNDREDS of drivers on the A1 north of Paris were stuck on Saturday night after a demonstration by Roma travellers blocked the motorway in both directions.
The blockade comes on one of the busiest weekends for the French road network, as holidaymakers return home from the summer break. The motorway was still cut off on Saturday morning, with diversions in place in the Somme department.
Their protest began at 22.00 on Friday evening, with about 60 Roma setting fire to tyres and tree branches on both carriageways.
It comes after a shooting at their camp in Roye (Somme) earlier this week, in which four people were killed and three others injured.
The protestors are calling for one of the victim's sons, who is serving time in jail, to be allowed out to attend his father's funeral.
The A1 is one of the busiest motorways in Europe, connecting France with the Channel ferry ports and the Eurotunnel. Junction 12 and the interchange with the A29 remain closed.
ROYE A1 tjrs coupée à 9h dans la Somme dans les 2 sens par des gens du Voyage. Déviation par A29/A16 (image @itele) pic.twitter.com/z8QgmkmqGH— infos140 (@infos140) August 29, 2015
Elsewhere in France, traffic monitor Bison Futé has put out a "red" alert for heavy traffic today, meaning up to 600km of jams are likely on the motorway network. Sunday should be quieter.
By 8.00 on Saturday morning the A7, linking the Mediterranean with the north of France, was already very busy.
Bison Futé recommends travelling after 21.00 tonight, or delaying your journey until Sunday.