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05 Dec 2019 | 10:15 AM UTC

France: Police fire tear gas at protesters in Paris and Nantes amid nationwide strike December 5 /update 1

Police fire tear gas at protesters in Paris and Nantes December 5 as trade unions strike across France; similar demonstrations possible as significant transportation disruptions expected to continue over coming days

security
transportation
FRA

Event

Police fired tear gas at protesters in Paris and Nantes on Thursday, December 5, amid a nationwide general strike causing severe transportation disruptions in the capital and across France. In Paris, police had reportedly arrested some 25 people following clashes between protesters and police, who fired tear gas at the demonstrators. Some demonstrators in Nantes reportedly threw objects at police who, in turn, fired tear gas and arrested an unspecified number of protesters. Thursday's rallies in Paris and Nantes come as several trade unions have launched an indefinite nationwide general strike to denounce the government's proposed universal pension reform.

Parisian public transportation is expected to be significantly impacted on Thursday. Traffic will be halted on metro lines 2, 3, 3bis, 5, 6, 7bis, 8, 10, 11, 12, and 13, while 1 train out of 4 will run on lines 4, 7 and 9 exclusively during rush hour, between 06:30 and 09:30 and between 17:00 and 20:00. Automatic metro lines 1 and 14 should operate normally, however, crowded conditions are expected. Furthermore, only 1 out of 3 buses will circulate. Tramway service will also be similarly impacted; 1 out of 3 trams are expected to operate on lines 1, 2, 3a, 3b, and 5 during rush hour, while 1 tram out of 2 will operate on lines 6, 7, and 8. On the RER suburban train service, 1 train out of 2 is expected on the RER A and 1 out of 3 on the RER B during rush hour only. The RER C, D, and E lines will have approximately 2 trains per hour. Up-to-date information on affected metro services can be found on the RATP website here.

In addition, the SNCF rail company announced that only 10 percent of Transilien regional services will run, with, the U and R lines completely halted. Only 3 percent of regional TER services will operate across the country, with many service gaps expected between regions. Replacement bus services will be implemented to resume about a quarter of the usual traffic. On the TGV (high speed train) network, only ten percent of trains will operate across France. As of Wednesday, December 4, it was no longer possible to purchase train tickets for TGV inOui, Ouigo, or Intercités trains for service from Thursday through Sunday, December 8. SNCF stated that up-to-date information on the strike action will be available at 17:00 on each day on its website here.

TGV Lyria announced disruptions to its service between France and Switzerland as of Wednesday. Similar disruptions have been announced on Thalys services between France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany as of Wednesday. Eurostar representatives confirmed several cancelations from Thursday through Sunday on services to London, Brussels, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam.

Civil aviation will also be impacted, with 20 percent of flights expected to be canceled on Thursday. Air France announced that 30 percent of its domestic flights and 15 percent of medium-haul flights will be canceled, while EasyJet announced the cancelation of 233 flights on Thursday.

Widespread transportation disruptions - including transportation delays, cancelations, and crowded conditions - and increased demand for alternative means of transportation are to be expected during the strike period.  

Advice

Individuals in Paris, Nantes, and across France are advised to closely monitor developments to the situation, anticipate significant transportation disruptions, plan alternative routes and budget additional travel time in areas affected by the general strike, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.