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Overwhelmed by Yellow Vest protests, French police launch ‘slowdown strike’

Lucas Bariolet, AFP | A protestor wearing a 'yellow vest' (gilet jaune) faces a police vehicle near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on December 8, 2018 during a protest against rising costs of living they blame on high taxes

French police protesting overwork and thousands of unpaid hours were dragging their feet at passport check-in lines in at least one terminal at Charles de Gaulle airport Wednesday, creating long lines of waiting passengers.

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The airport police prefecture said that the Wednesday slowdown was currently hitting only Terminal 1, and any delayed check-ins at two other terminals were due to a high number of passengers.

The delays came as the Alliance police union called on police officers across France to handle only emergencies amid negotiations with the interior ministry over compensation after weeks spent containing protests by the grassroots Yellow Vest movement.

The protest was triggered by a €62 million cut in the national police budget, which was due to be approved by members of Parliament on Thursday.

A 'black day' for French police

Alliance has called on Twitter and Facebook to make December 19 a “black day for the police”, urging police officers to stay inside police stations and respond only to emergency calls. Another police union, UNSA, said its members would only provide minimal services and has asked to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron.

The French government offered on Tuesday to give a €300 bonus to police officers deployed to control the disruptive Yellow Vest protest that began last month.

The protests, named after the fluorescent safety vests the demonstrators wear, started in November over rising fuel prices but have since morphed into a mass show of dissatisfaction involving pensioners, the unemployed, those just getting by and small business owners.

The UNSA union threatened to mimic Yellow Vest protests and to occupy roundabouts if its demands were not met.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)

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