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Christmas market go-slow protest causes 500km jams

Fairground workers block key routes around capital in protest against decision to cancel Christmas market on Champs-Elysées

Market stall staff and fairground workers have carried out their threat to block key routes in Paris in protest at a decision to cancel this year's Christmas market.

Fairground workers blocked traffic on the outskirts of the French capital on Monday it was confirmed by police that the Champs-Elysées Christmas market would not go ahead this year.

At 6.30am on Monday morning about 40 protesters began a go-slow protest on the A13 to the west of Paris. By 9am, almost 500km of jams were reported around Paris, as carnival trucks blocked two of three lanes on the road.

Another 60 were disrupting traffic flow on the A4, to the east of the city, while slow traffic was reported on the A6 and A86.

Police, meanwhile, have prevented a further dozen carnival vehicles from joining the périphérique at Porte de la Muette.

In July, City Hall ended its contract with the fair's organiser, Marcel Campion - often informally known as the “king of fairground workers”. As reported, he warned last Thursday that protests would follow if police backed up that decision. They did so on Friday.

Mr Campion warned that more than 2,000 jobs would be at risk if the markets did not go ahead, saying: “We don’t want compensation, we want our jobs. Most people here do not have a cheque waiting for them at the end of the month.”

The group has alleged that they have been pushed out from the capital because of an agreement by the city with investor and luxury goods CEO Bernard Arnault - one of the richest men in France - whose group is said to be planning a fairground on a similar spot.

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