Summary Box: French protests take turn

AP News
Posted: Oct 19, 2010 2:29 PM
Summary Box: French protests take turn

PROTESTS IN FRANCE TAKE RADICAL TURN: Masked youths clashed with police and set fires in cities across France, hundreds of flights were canceled and train service in many regions was cut as protests raged against a proposed hike in the retirement age.

PRESIDENT PLEDGES CRACKDOWN: President Nicolas Sarkozy promised to crack down on "troublemakers" and guarantee public order, raising the possibility of more confrontations with young rioters.

WHAT THEY WANT: The protesters want to prevent France's parliament from approving a bill that would raise the retirement age to 62 from 60 to help prevent the pension system from becoming insolvent. They see it as a dangerous step in eroding France's social benefits.