Police To Ease French Airport Strike

December 21, 2011

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France has ordered police to deploy at two airports from Thursday to make sure striking private security staff do not paralyse flights in the pre-Christmas travel rush, a police union official said on Wednesday.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's government had said it was ready to order police to take over security at Lyon airport and part of Charles de Gaulle, the busy international hub on the northern outskirts of Paris.

"If the strike continues, the government will see to it that normal transport service is guaranteed," Transport Minister Thierry Mariani said. "We cannot yet again have a situation where the French people are prevented from going home to their families."

About 400 police were put on standby on Wednesday after the pay talks broke up without agreement. The talks were due to resume on Thursday but a police union official said the police had been instructed to intervene from Thursday.

The Interior Ministry would only say that "the operation is in place and ready to be activated at any moment".

By Wednesday evening, disruption was limited, with reports of only minor delays in takeoffs, Mariani said.