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French police have successfully liberated a critical fuel depot that was under blockade from union protestors in an effort to remedy fuel shortages across the country after nearly 12 percent of France’s gas stations had either run out of gas or were on the verge of running out.
The police started to take down the blockade around 4:00am local time on Tuesday. One police officer was injured during in the operation by angry protestors who were throwing objects to preserve their blockade. The police responded by firing teargas into the crowd of protestors.
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Meanwhile, workers at six oil refineries are still on strike, and four more fuel depots are still being affected by protestors.
The fuel shortage, which is affecting all sectors across France with people being unable to commute to work, are unlikely to subside, even with the re-opening of the fuel depot, as motorists are stocking up on fuel for fear of running out.
What few deliveries are headed to the northern and western regions of France—the areas that the strikes have hit the hardest—are being accompanied by security details to ensure safe passage.
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French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has opined that the country is being held hostage by protesters through its refineries, and that this will not be allowed to continue. He has indicated that security forces will be used to break the strikes.
France experienced similar protests in 2010, when the refineries were shut down for two weeks due the massive union-led actions protesting a plan by the government to overhaul the pension system.
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com