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28 September 2005

Storming the Bastia, Marseille

Teargas and hooded paramilitary gendarmes of an anti-terrorist unit descending from five Puma helicopters herald the introduction by the French authorities of a rather novel approach to strikebreaking:
French army storms hijacked ferry in Mediterranean
By Reuters Wed Sep 28, 2005 11:54 AM BST

French soldiers stormed a car ferry in the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday to recapture it from about 50 striking workers who had seized the vessel in protest at plans to privatise their ferry company.


Media said the workers who seized the ferry could face up to 20 years in prison, saying the law treats seizing the ferry in a manner similar to the hijacking of a plane. Police said they had detained the protesters for questioning.


Financial difficulties coupled with government plans to seek an injection of private capital into the 155-year-old company have led to a series of strikes since last year, bringing ferry traffic to a halt between mainland France and Corsica.

Three people were injured during scuffles between protesters and police at the Corsican port city of Bastia during the night. Workers are angry over sell-off plans that could lead to the loss of 400 jobs, and have blocked southern French oil ports.

Source: The Times

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