WRAPUP 4-Fuel to Paris reduced as French protests escalate

Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:25pm GMT

The best chance Sarkozy's opponents have of bringing down his pension bill is if strikes at oil refineries continue and start to threaten fuel supply, or if youths hit the streets en masse and set off violent scuffles.


TV footage showed riot police using teargas to contain young protesters in the southern city of Lyon.

About 260 people were arrested throughout the country, police said, describing them mostly as "troublemakers", while about a dozen officers were injured.

In Paris, police got orders to stop using "flashball" riot-control pellets, a type of rubber bullet, to quieten crowds after a secondary school student was badly injured on Thursday.

Students at hundreds of schools joined the protest movement in force from Thursday, shouting anti-Sarkozy slogans. Dozens have been arrested and on Friday more were barred by riot police from nearing the prime minister's offices.

"What will they become if tomorrow there is no money to pay their pensions? I ask each of them to ask themselves the question," Sarkozy said.

Jean-Claude Gaudin, mayor of the southern port of Marseille, where several hundred youths rallied on Friday and unrelated strikes by port workers and garbage collectors have clogged up city life all week, said teenagers should go back to school.   Continued...

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