In Northern France, steelworkers have clashed with police in their efforts to fight off government redundancy plans.
In Northern France, steelworkers have clashed with police in their efforts to fight off government redundancy plans. Recently, the French authorities announced a plan to restructure the steel industry, which involves the loss of nearly twenty-two thousand jobs throughout the country by the end of next year.
SYNOPSIS: In the northern town of Denain, angry steelworkers hurled stones at police vehicles in a violent protest on Wednesday (7 March). Denain and the town of Longwy will be the places worst hit by the proposed redundancy plan. First reports said two steelworkers were seriously injured in Wednesday's fighting.
A group of about one thousand five hundred protesters also tried to storm the Denain police station. But a strong force of riot police beat off the attack under a hail of stones and missiles thrown by steelworkers. The clash was the latest in a series of spectacular protests mounted by the dissatisfied workers. Earlier, they had blocked railway lines, occupied border posts and stormed public buildings to give publicity to their complaints.
Their actions have prompted French parliamentarians to demand a special session to discuss the question of unemployment. The number of jobless now stands at one-point-three million. Apart from protests by steelworkers, a rail strike has halted virtually all train services in France.