Fuel supplies, schools hit on Week 3 of 'yellow vest' protests

Marseille (AFP) –


Dozens of French "yellow vest" demonstrators blocked access to a major fuel depot and several highways on Monday on the third week of anti-government protests which led to major riots in Paris at the weekend.

Around 50 people blocked the fuel depot in the port of Fos-sur-Mer, near Marseille, where police have repeatedly intervened to dislodge demonstrators since small-town and rural France erupted in protests over rising living costs on November 17.

Traffic was also backed up on highways leading to the southern cities of Aix-en-Provence, Orange, Montpellier, Nimes and Sete as the movement, which began over fuel tax increases but has morphed into a broader wave of resistance to Macron's pro-business policies, rumbled on.

On Monday, the protests spread to around a hundred schools nationwide, which were partially or totally blocked by teenagers piggybacking on the demonstrations to air frustration over new university entrance requirements.

Around 1,000 students shouting "Macron resign!" -- some clad in the high-visibility vests that have become the emblem of the movement -- demonstrated in the city of Nice on Monday, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

- Union backing -

The situation also remained tense on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion, which has been one of the flashpoints of the protests.

Police fired tear gas to repel demonstrators around the island's sole container port in the west, which has been blocked for 15 days, leading to shortages of imported wheat, medication and other necessities.

France's biggest public sector union, the CGT, waded into the fray on Monday, calling for a nationwide day of protest on December 14 to press for an "immediate" increase in the minimum wage, pensions and social benefits.

The "yellow vests" have no links to political parties or trade unions but the CGT, which brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets to protest Macron's reform of the labour code last year, said it shared their "legitimate anger".