October 20, 2010 / 8:37 AM / 9 years ago

Factbox: French media comment on strikes and pensions reform

PARIS (Reuters) - France sent police to clear access to barricaded fuel depots as unions kept up their resistance on Wednesday to an unpopular pension reform due for a final vote in the Senate this week.

French gendarmes secure the entrance of the DPF petrol depot in Fos sur mer, near Marseille, October 20, 2010 to escort tanker trucks. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Here are some editorial comments from the main French newspapers:

LES ECHOS (business daily)

“The number of protesters in the streets is not rising, but remains high at around one million (according to government estimates), while the number of people striking is going down. Whether this was a decision taken by union leaders or not, disrupting fuel supplies has replaced shutting down public transport as activists’ preferred way of gaining leverage.”

LIBERATION (left-wing)

“It is time to take account of the will of the people. It is time to respond to anxiety about the future. The country is ready for reform, on condition that it is fair. There is no shame in (the government) listening to criticism. There is no shame in amending plans. There is no shame in discussion. The union leaders are ready for dialogue.”

LE FIGARO (conservative)

“Despite an unrealistic tally of demonstrators (from unions), the protest is clearly losing speed. The number of strikers is going down more or less everywhere and the protest marches are not as big as they were in the last few weeks. They are full of university and secondary school students which masks a decline in interest among workers in a movement they do not see the use of, or a way out of.”

OUEST FRANCE (regional daily)

“There are weeks that are twice or even three times as important as a normal week. This week is one of those. For those in power, those in opposition and the country, it is urgent to cool down the climate of tension around retirement.”

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by David Stamp

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