Saturday, October 01, 2005


Striking ferry workers hijacked a boat (later recovered by special forces), blocked two seaports, and effectively blockaded the French island of Corsica. Tourists on the island had their vacations unexpectedly extended, as there was no way to leave. Sympathetic strikes shut down Corsica's airfields and the major port of Marseilles on the mainland, while a trucker strike made fuel scarce. During the festivities, someone fired a rocket at a government building on Corsica. No one was hurt. (, BBC.)

Yesterday French troops moved in, arresting protesters and reopening the port of Ajaccio. (BBC.)

Earlier this year, workers for the same government-owned ferry company, SNCM, set cars on fire and threw chunks of metal at police while trying to shut down the port of Marsailles. (Asheville Global Report.) At the time, the seamen were protesting legislative changes that led to wage competition from foreign workers. The current strike is to halt the planned privatization of SNCM, but if the union succeeds, the debt-ridden company will quickly go bankrupt. Recent EU regulations prohibit the French government from bailing it out.


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