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Go-slow protests hit French roads

Motorways congested and public transport depots blockaded ahead of tomorrow's industry-wide strike day.

LORRY drivers are staging go-slow protests on roads around France today, as the pensions reform protest enters a decisive week.

A number of convoy operations have been reported this morning.

Traffic remains heavy on the A6 south out of Paris and on the A1 heading south from Lille after lorry drivers blocked all but one lane to traffic.

Smaller blockades have been reported in Le Mans and Angers, where drivers are letting cars past but preventing lorries.

There is also disruption to public transport in several towns and cities because depots are blockaded.

Two bus depots in Toulouse are blockaded by several hundred Sud and CGT union members since 4.30, preventing buses from leaving.

A waste-processing plant in Marseille is also blockaded, stopping binmen from unloading rubbish.

There are similar protests at Saint-Etienne and at a depot in Senlis, in the Oise, which was due to provide replacement bus services for the trains in the area affected by strikes.

Twelve oil refineries remain on strike and 11 are blockaded by unions.

Interior minister Brice Hortefeux said 200 petrol stations were currently dry because drivers had made "precautionary top-ups".

Finance minister Christine Lagarde said it was unacceptable that petrol stations were putting up their prices in response to the growing demand.

Half of TGVs are cancelled today. Less than a third of Corail trains are running, about 60 per cent of rush-hour Transilien services and about half of TERs.

Public transport in Paris should be operating normally, except on RER B, where about a third of trains are cancelled.

Eurostar services are running normally; however, there are no Thalys trains running at all because of a strike by Belgian rail workers.

Tomorrow is the next big national industry-wide day of strike action, and the Senate is due to vote on the retirement reform law on Wednesday.

Prime minister François Fillon said citizens had a right to strike, but they should not stop the distribution of petrol or prevent non-striking workers from entering buildings.

"I will not let the French economy be suffocated," he told TF1

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