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SNCF sues over track protests

Up to 100,000 passengers were delayed as nurses blocked the tracks outside Paris Montparnasse station for five hours

THE SNCF is taking legal action after a protest by medical workers on the tracks outside the Gare Montparnasse in Paris delayed up to 100,000 passengers yesterday afternoon.

According to the rail operator, an estimated 40,000 travellers were stranded on trains unable to move because of the demonstration, which completely cut off the route into one of the capital's busiest stations.

The current in the area had to be switched off for the whole afternoon. Crowds of rush-hour commuters formed outside the station waiting for the problem to ease.

Several hundred anesthetists invaded the railway tracks at about 13.00 yesterday to protest about what they say is a lack of recognition for their specialism within the healthcare system. The job requires seven years of study and training.

The group had demonstrated outside the Health Ministry earlier in the day but decided to take further action because they were not been received by minister Roselyne Bachelot.

CRS riot police were brought in at about 18.00 to break up the demo, although most of the protestors left voluntarily without any physical clashes.

Trains were delayed for most of the evening - and the SNCF urged long-distance TGV passengers to reschedule their trip if at all possible.

The rail operator says it will not be issuing refunds because the delay was out of its control. However passengers can switch to a later train without any additional costs.

Photo: The protest blocked 100,000 passengers - credit Twitpics-Actusoins

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