WRAPUP 4-Fuel to Paris reduced as French protests escalate

Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:25pm GMT
 

* Supply cut at fuel pipeline to Paris

* Airport worker strike grounds some flights

* Police arrest dozens in student protests

(Adds arrests and strike call by Air France union)

By Catherine Bremer

PARIS, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Striking French oil refinery workers shut down a fuel pipeline supplying Paris and its airports on Friday and airport workers grounded some flights as protests mounted to derail an unpopular pension reform.

France's airport operator played down worries of fuel shortages, but strikes at all of the country's 12 refineries and fuel depot blockades prompted motorists to stock up on petrol.

Truck drivers also were set to join the fray as momentum built for a day of street rallies on Saturday.

The widening protests have become the biggest challenge facing President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is struggling with low popularity ratings as he tries to appease financial markets by stemming a ballooning pension shortfall.   Continued...

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