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Sarkozy Orders Police To Break Fuel Blockades

Workes strike at the refinery of French oil giant Total in Donges
French president Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered police to break blockades at all fuel depots blocked by protesters against the government's pension reform plan.

France has been hit by strikes and massive protests against the pension reform, which would raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62.

A third of the country's petrol stations have run out of supplies due to a strike by oil refinery workers and barricades set up at numerous oil depots.

Protests have been largely peaceful, but there has been some violence by protesters, mainly students, outside Paris and in the city of Lyon.

The pension reform has already been approved by the National Assembly and a final vote in the Senate is scheduled for the end of the week.

compiled from agency reports