La Revolución

Massive Strikes Cripple France

The five days of walkouts and protests are starting to take a toll in France: Fuel supplies at Charles de Gualle Airport running low. France’s ecology ministry announced that the country’s main airport only has enough airplane fuel to last until Monday evening. The strikes against President Sarkozy’s plan to raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 have affected the country’s transportation, education, justice, hospitals, media, and banking sectors; 10 of the country’s 12 refineries participated in the strikes. Trying to prevent a run on fuel stations, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde announced that they have reserves for several weeks. The number of people marching Saturday varies depending on the source: 825,000 according to the interior ministry, and 3.5 million according to the labor unions. A two-mile-long crowd of protesters marched at Bastille Square, shouting insults at the government. Despite the strong public opposition to the plan, the French National Assembly passed the pension-reform bill on Wednesday; the Senate is expected to vote October 31.