In Northern France, steelworkers have clashed with police in their efforts to fight off government redundancy plans.
GV steelworker throwing Stones at police vehicle
GV steelworker emptying fuel onto road and setting it alight (THREE SHOTS)
GV police charging forward through pall of smoke and steelworkers running away (TWO SHOTS)
GV car with smashed windscreen
GV demonstrators at side of road and steelworker throwing stone at police cordon
GV police standing in formation
GV firebombs thrown at workers at road-side
GV police, standing in front of vehicles
The Opposition Communists and Socialists have joined the Gaullists -- the largest party in the governing coalition -- in calls for the National Assembly to hold an emergency sitting. President Valery Giscard d'Estaing is due to leave on an official visit to Romania on Thursday (8 March) and is expected to review demands for the emergency sitting on his return on Saturday (10 March).
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Background: In Northern France, steelworkers have clashed with police in their efforts to fight off government redundancy plans. Recently, the French authorities announced a plan to restructure the steel industry, which involves the loss of nearly twenty-two thousand jobs throughout the country by the end of next year.
SYNOPSIS: In the northern town of Denain, angry steelworkers hurled stones at police vehicles in a violent protest on Wednesday (7 March). Denain and the town of Longwy will be the places worst hit by the proposed redundancy plan. First reports said two steelworkers were seriously injured in Wednesday's fighting.
A group of about one thousand five hundred protesters also tried to storm the Denain police station. But a strong force of riot police beat off the attack under a hail of stones and missiles thrown by steelworkers. The clash was the latest in a series of spectacular protests mounted by the dissatisfied workers. Earlier, they had blocked railway lines, occupied border posts and stormed public buildings to give publicity to their complaints.
Their actions have prompted French parliamentarians to demand a special session to discuss the question of unemployment. The number of jobless now stands at one-point-three million. Apart from protests by steelworkers, a rail strike has halted virtually all train services in France.