PARIS (AP) — After a rough couple of months that have included protests, fuel shortages, rail strikes and once-in-a-generation floods, France's capital is facing a new challenge: Piles of uncollected garbage.
A new wave of strikes is disrupting trash collection in Paris with only two days to go until the European Championship soccer tournament, a sporting event predicted to draw 2.5 million spectators.
French media broadcast photographs of growing piles of garbage in the French capital Wednesday and trash bag barricades set up in front of waste facilities. France's CGT union said that four out of the six garages housing Paris' garbage trucks — 300 vehicles in all — had been blocked as part of a more than week-long protest. The mayor's office said garbage collection had been hindered for "several days."
The CGT said similar strike action is hindering trash collection in the French cities of Marseille, Saint-Etienne and Aix-en-Provence.
French life has been disrupted for weeks by industrial action affecting trains and gas stations. A huge flood hit the capital last week, briefly shutting museums and drowning the Seine River's embankments.
The floods have drained away, but the protests have not. Many are aimed at securing the withdrawal of France's labor reform law, which opponents see as eroding France's social protections. But other groups — including railway workers and Air France staff — are hoping to win concessions as the Euros get underway.
Speaking to lawmakers Wednesday about the railway strike, which the government had hoped to resolve ahead of the tournament, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said "the French can't understand a strike which lasts for no reason and penalizes them heavily."
Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed to this report.