Oil Workers, Youths, Truckers Defy French Government as presented by: Sacramento Bee

French oil workers defied the government's demand Monday to get back to work and end fuel shortages, stepping up the fight against President Nicolas Sarkozy's retirement reforms. Youths and truckers joined in, facing off against riot police and creating chaos on the roads. Strikers have blockaded a dozen French refineries and numerous oil depots in the last week as part of widespread protests over Sarkozy's plan to raise the retirement age to 62, a reform the French Senate is voting on Wednesday. Workers are angry because they consider retiring at 60 a pillar of France's hard-won social contract - and fear this is just the first step in eroding their often-envied quality of life. Critics say Sarkozy wants to adopt an "American-style capitalist" system and claim the government could find pension savings elsewhere, such as by raising contributions from employers. People march during a protest in Marseille, southern France, Saturday Oct. 16, 2010. Diesel and jet fuel supplies were running low in parts of France as workers took to the streets for another nationwide protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to raise the retirement age to 62. Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/photos/2010/10/oil-workers-youths-truckers-de.html#ixzz1316GlCo2 Riot police officers detain a youth during a student demonstration. Protestors climbed on a statue during a demonstration in Paris, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, with placard reading "Sarkozy scorns the democracy."

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