Protests Intensify, French Workers Refuse Submission

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Above:  Riot police stand guard behind a fire as refinery workers hold a blockade of the oil depot of Douchy-Les-Mines to protest against the government’s proposed labour reforms, on May 25. Photographer: Francois Lo Presti/AFP via Getty Images

‘What we want today is for this movement to spread,’ says unionist.

Amid ongoing blockades and intensifying clashes with police, protests against President François Hollande’s controversial set of labor reforms deepened on Thursday as workers in France’s nuclear plants joined the hundreds of thousands of people taking part in a nationwide strike.

Fueled by “a groundswell of public anger,” as the Associated Press put it, the strikes have already shut down France’s gas stations forced the country to dip into reserve petrol supplies.

“After oil refinery shutdowns, ” Euronews reports, “Thursday’s strikes at nuclear sites have taken the stand-off one stage further. Power cuts are not expected but tension is growing as France prepares to host the Euro 2016 football tournament in two weeks time.”

Sixteen out of the countries 19 nuclear plants voted to join the strike, AP reports.

In addition to clashes in Paris, where police fired tear gas at demonstrators, the Guardian reports “that street marches took place in towns and cities across France, including Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes.” Scores of people were arrested.

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