Defying Sarkozy's Tough Talk, Strikers Continue Staff
Posted: Oct 26, 2010 7:09 AM

President Nicolas Sarkozy drew chaotic events in France to a close last week by sending riot police to clear blockades of striking oil-refinery workers, getting gasoline flowing to thousands of dry service stations. For good measure, he also warned students clashing with police that they'd be punished to the fullest extent of the law for getting violently out of line. Yet as the new week opened, there was little evidence that Sarkozy's offensive had taken any steam out of either of those camps or the broader movement of opposition to his pension reform. Now the country waits to see if nationwide strikes and demonstrations on Oct. 28 and Nov. 6 will continue to mobilize millions even as Sarkozy's reform heads toward all but certain passage into law — or if, as conservatives hope, the protests fizzle out in the face of the government's resolve.