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October 22, 2010

France on strike

Weeks of strikes, protests and demonstrations have brought much of France to a standstill as workers, students and others voice their strong opposition to a government proposal to raise the age for a minimum pension from 60 to 62. A quarter of the nation's gas stations were out of fuel, hundreds of flights were canceled, long lines formed at gas stations and train services in many regions were cut in half. Protesters blockaded Marseille's airport, Lady Gaga canceled concerts in Paris and rioting youths attacked police in Lyon. The unpopular bill is edging closer to becoming law as the French Senate is preparing to vote on it today. Collected here are recent images of the unrest around France. Update: Pension reform bill just now passed by French senate. (40 photos total)

A man holds a placard which reads "Listen to the public's rage" during a demonstration in front of the French Senate in Paris October 20, 2010. French trade unions kept up their resistance on Wednesday to an unpopular pension reform due for a final vote in the Senate this week. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

People march during a protest in Marseille, southern France, Saturday Oct. 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Claude Paris) #

A truck driver walks past a line of lorries as he waits outside a fuel depot of the society SFDM near the oil refinery of Donges, near Nantes, October 22, 2010. (REUTERS/Stephane Mahe) #

Aerial view of Tankers and other vessels waiting off shore near Marseille's port in Martigues on October 17, 2010, where two oil terminals are blocked by strike action. (ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images) #

Demonstrators gather around a puppet symbolizing the French Republic during a protest in Paris, Tuesday Oct.19, 2010. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) #

Workers demonstrate in front of the Senate on October 20, 2010 in Paris, France. President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to raise the retirement age to 62 has prompted Oil workers to protest crippling the transport system and triggering gas shortages. Students are also attending demonstrations and have in some cases barricaded entrances to schools. (Franck Prevel/Getty Images) #

Arcelor Mittal steel workers dressed in protective work suit demonstrate over pension reforms in Marseille October 12, 2010. (REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier) #

Youths scramble outside a looted store during clashes with police forces in Lyon, central France, Wednesday Oct. 20, 2010. France's interior minister threatened Wednesday to send in paramilitary police to stop rioting on the fringes of protests. Months of largely peaceful demonstrations against the pension reform have taken a violent turn in recent days. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler) #

A gendarme helicopter circles overhead at low altitude during clashes between youths and police forces in Lyon, central France, Wednesday Oct. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler) #

People demonstrate on October 12, 2010 in Paris, to protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to up the retirement age to 62. (FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images) #

High school students shout slogans as striking railway workers burn railway tracks during a demonstration at the old port of Marseille October 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier) #

Passengers wait for a train on a platform at the Gare du Nord railway station in Paris October 19, 2010 during a nationwide strike by public sector workers to protest against pension reform. Airport staff, bus and train drivers, postal workers and the armored truck drivers who keep cash machines stocked up could join refinery workers and others in a day of nationwide strikes against the plan to raise the retirement age. (REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes) #

Passengers walk on the highway as French striking workers block the Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Roissy near Paris October 20, 2010. (REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes) #

People block the access to the Nice airport on October 19, 2010, as they demonstrate during the sixth day of coordinated nationwide protests. (VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images) #

French police secure an entrance at Orly airport, south of Paris, as striking airport workers blocked the access to roads October 20, 2010. (REUTERS/Guillaume Bertrand) #

Striking workers clash with police as they block the Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy near Paris October 20, 2010. (REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes) #

French police take position during clashes with youths after a demonstration over pension reform in Lyon, October 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Robert Pratta) #

High school students shout during a demonstration against retirement reforms in Paris, Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) #

French high school students kiss on the road in front of the police at the end of a demonstration over pension reform in Paris October 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes) #

Youths overturn a car in a street in Lyon, central France, Thursday Oct.21, 2010. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) #

Plainclothes police officers, right, try to detain a youth during a protest in Paris, Thursday Oct. 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) #

Riot police officers detain a youth during clashes in Lyon, central France, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) #

A demonstrator holds a flare aloft as private and public sector workers demonstrate over pension reforms in Nice October 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

Civil security members requisitioned by the French government clean the streets and pile up garbage in Marseille October 20, 2010 on the ninth day of a strike by rubbish collectors. (REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier) #

Oil trucks leave an oil depot escorted by french riot police in Bassens, near Bordeaux, southwestern France,Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Bob Edme) #

Riot policemen push demonstrators who blocked the fuel storage depot of Douchy-Les-Mines, northern France, to protest against French government pensions reform on October 19, 2010. (FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A nurse denounces the anticipated 67-year-old age for retirement during a workers and students demonstration ending at Place de la Bastille on October 12, 2010 in Paris, as part of a nationwide action to protest against the government reform bill on pensions. (JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images) #

A child holds a banner on the shoulders of a man during a demonstration in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) #

French high school students, with the message "No to the reform", attend a demonstration over pension reform on October 21, 2010 in Paris, France. (Franck Prevel/Getty Images) #

A woman holds a sign as she demonstrates during a National Union-Led protest against retirement reform on October 16, 2010 in Paris, France. On the sign, an old woman says "When I was your age, I was already working", and a girl replies "When I am your age I'll still be working." (Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images) #

French high school students block the entrance of the Dorian high school in Paris October 15, 2010. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau) #

French Youth run from riot police forces during clashes on October 20, 2010 on the sideline of anti pensions reform protests in Lyon. (PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images) #

A French high school student faces riot gendarmes during a student demonstration at the Place de la Republique in Paris October 19, 2010. (REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes) #

A tear gas canister explodes near hooded youths during a confrontation with French police at a demonstration against pension reform in Lyon October 21, 2010. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse) #

Riot police officers detain a youth during a student demonstration in Lyon, central France, Monday, Oct.18, 2010. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) #

A fireman tries to extinguish a burning car during riots in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, on October 20, 2010. (Franck Prevel/Getty Images) #

A woman walks past a message written on a road saying "Tous en greve" (everybody on strike) as part of the demonstrations by railway workers from state-run company SNCF during the nationwide day of protest against pension reform on October 13, 2010 in Chenove, eastern France. (JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images) #

Students vote during a students' general assembly, to extend the closure of Naterre's university, near Paris, to protest the government retirement reforms, Friday, Oct. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Michel Euler) #

French gendarmes charge to unblock the entrance of the Grandpuits oil refinery southeast of Paris October 22, 2010 as striking workers unsuccessfully attempted to continue their blockade. (REUTERS/Benoit Tessier) #

A view of the French Senate, in Paris, Friday, Oct. 22, 2010. The French Senate prepared to vote on a pension reform, after the government short-circuited a protracted debate. The Senate is near certain to approve the measure, which raises the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 later Friday, despite months of strikes and protests. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon) #

 
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