Three killed on roads in French lorry protest
Sunday 05 July 1992
Already many factories, especially in the automobile industry, have laid people off because supplies are not arriving.
Not since the student riots which led to workers' strikes and an economic shutdown in May 1968 has France been so held to ransom by a social movement. Tailbacks on main roads were reported all over the country as travellers from Britain and other parts of northern Europe headed south on the first peak weekend of the summer season.
Adding to the chaos, drivers and farmers, who are opposed to EC farm reforms, blocked railway lines in some areas, affecting tourists who had switched from road to rail. The French national railway said last night that 10,000 passengers were stranded. Tourism officials said French resorts were expecting 30 per cent fewer visitors than the average for the first week of July.
In several areas, petrol has been in short supply. At a Paris oil depot surrounded by lorries, army drivers were deployed to drive tankers out and restore normal supplies. Others were put into action in Lyons and Toulouse.
For once, faced by military uniforms, the drivers who oppose new laws on endorsing licences which have long been considered normal the world over showed some respect for state authority.
The drivers' movement crosses union and non-union lines, meaning that there is virtually no one who can realistically represent them in talks with the government. So mediation efforts are conducted on a case-by-case basis, with local officials negotiating with individual leaders running each roadblock.
Near Montpellier two people died when their car collided with a truck taking part in a 'snail operation' protest, driving at snail- pace to disrupt traffic. At Melun near Paris, a Norwegian tourist was killed in a similar accident. The truck-driver in the Montpellier accident was charged with manslaughter.
The Justice Ministry said it was investigating an incident in the Alps on Thursday in which truck- drivers went after German tourists who tried to drive around one of their protests. Television film aired by the state FR3 network on Friday showed three drivers shouting 'we are the police' rip windscreen wipers and wing mirrors from the German car.
In Lille, on the main road from the main Channel ports to the south, the situation grew particularly ugly on Friday when 350 farmers were allowed through the roadblocks into the city centre. Riot police fired tear-gas at the farmers. They responded by driving their vehicles into the city's urban furniture, smashing bus shelters and the like.
The farmers said the police action proved that the authorities, who have so far tried none of the traditional strong-arm measures on the truck-drivers, were prejudiced against them. Other farmers have complained that fruit and vegetables are rotting because of the unrest, causing Le Monde to print the laconic headline 'Blocked blockers'.
Paul Quiles, the Interior Minister, says it is his job to oppose violence, not to instigate it. The truth is that force against the roadblocks where, in some cases, hundreds of trucks are immobilised, would serve no purpose.
Inside Story, page 19
For travel info tel: (AA 0836 401904); (RAC 0891 700300); (Centre National d'Information Routiere 010 331 48943333)
- 1 Husband creates spreadsheet detailing wife's 'excuses' for turning down sex
- 2 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 3 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 4 Time runs out for Christian Iraq: Isis deadline passes with mass flight
- 5 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
Time runs out for Christian Iraq: Isis deadline passes with mass flight
Miley Cyrus death hoax: Fans distraught after Facebook scam goes viral and she doesn't tweet for three days
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: France and Germany accused of going soft on Putin as sanctions talks stall
Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash analysis: A tragic lesson of advanced weapons in the wrong hands
- < Previous
- Next >
£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: The successful applicant w...
£21000 - £35000 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: The JobThe successful ...