Thursday 18 December 2014

Tear gas fired at French railway strikers

Published 17/06/2014 | 11:35

Commuters arrive at the Gare de l'Est train station by one of a few trains available today in Paris Tuesday, June 17, 2014, as French rail workers are on strike to protest a reorganization of the national rail and train companies. Seven days into a nationwide train strike that has tangled traffic and stranded tourists, the leftist government is braking a long-held French taboo and is openly criticizing the striking unions. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Commuters arrive at the Gare de l'Est train station by one of a few trains available today in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
French rail workers burn flares during a demonstration in front of the Lyon Perrache train station, central France. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

French riot police have fired tear gas at striking train workers who hurled bottles and blocked traffic in anger over a bill to reform the state-run railway system.

A week-long strike by rail workers is heating up as the draft law goes to the lower house of parliament for debate.

Several hundred workers staged a protest near the National Assembly on Paris's Left Bank, waving red union flags.

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

The protesters blocked cars and tried to approach the parliament building, firing flares and throwing bottles.

Officers responded with tear gas and wrestled a few protesters to the ground.

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