16 Oct 2010

Fuel depots reopened by police

2:46 pm on 16 October 2010

Police in France have moved in to reopen four oil depots that had been blockaded by strikes over pension reforms.

Junior Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau says France cannot afford petrol shortages.

However, the BBC reports many depots remain closed and queues have been forming at some petrol stations.

On Thursday, petrol distributors urged the government to release emergency fuel stocks, warning that only 10 days' fuel was left. Demand at petrol pumps has surged by 50% in the past two days.

In the port of Marseille, more than 70 ships carrying crude for refining are stranded as dockers continue a rolling strike.

Unions have called strikes and protests against plans by the government to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, and from 65 to 67 for a full state pension.

More than a million people took to the streets in a national protest on Tuesday. Another is to be held on on 19 October.