Tear gas fired at striking French train workers


PARIS  — French riot police have fired tear gas at striking train workers, who hurled bottles and blocked traffic in anger over a bill to reform the state-run railway system.

A weeklong strike by French rail workers is heating up as the draft law goes to the lower house of Parliament for debate today.

Several hundred workers staged a protest near the National Assembly on Paris’ Left Bank, waving red union flags. The bill would pave the way to opening up the railways to competition, and opponents fear it will lead to job losses and safety problems.

The protesters blocked cars and tried to approach the parliament building, firing flares and throwing bottles. Officers responded with tear gas and wrestled a few protesters to the ground.