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France: Striking train workers endure police tear gas attack

FRENCH riot police fired tear gas at striking train workers yesterday as they staged a protest on Paris’s Left Bank against EU-inspired rail reform.

Several hundred workers had staged a protest near the National Assembly building, waving red trade union flags, as a draft law went before the lower house of parliament.

The Bill would pave the way to opening up the railways to competition and unions fear it will lead to job losses and safety problems.

The protesters blocked cars and tried to approach the parliament building, but police attacked with tear gas and wrestled protesters to the ground.

Demonstrators responded by firing flares and throwing bottles.

SNCF railway chief Guillaume Pepy said the strike had cost €80-100 million (£65-80m) and continued to cause significant disruption, with many high-speed TGV connections cut by 50 per cent, although bosses claimed the percentage of rail workers on strike dropped to 14.7 per cent on Monday.

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