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Protestors block Frontignan petrol depot

LanguedocLiving, Nov 19

The so-called "gilets jaunes" decided early on Monday morning to block the fuel depot at Frontignan. They used pallets and old tyres to create an immovable pyre, causing paralysis all round the depot. Fuel tankers were stranded inside and out with no fuel leaving the depot.

In the late morning the sub-prefect of Hérault came to try to negotiate with the protesters, causing massive disruption in the name of protest against the increase in fuel prices.

This measure was repeated across France with other fuel depots blocked at Vern-sur-Seiche in Ille-et-Vilaine, La Pallice in Charentes-Maritimes, Fos-sur-Mer in the Bouches- du-Rhône and Lespinasse in Haute-Garonne.

The Frontignan depot is a massive installation with 24 tanks, holding 966,600 m3 of fuel. Their supply chain normally comes through Sète by sea and tankers connect directly to a submarine pipeline (or sea-line). Between 1.3 and 1.9 million tonnes of diesel and oil and gas use this pipeline each year, from 40 to 55 ships. The various chemical supplements found in our tanks (additives, dyes and biofuels) arrive by tanker trucks.

Distribution from there is by land only and is currently blocked. The demonstrators did let a dozen trucks to access the tanks after an agreement with the sub-prefect to supply hospitals and clinics.

[On our travels round the region during the day, we have observed many garages and key junctions blocked by protestors. Some were clearly drunk, jeering loudly at passing motorists - the very people whom they claim to be representing.

We have heard protestors claim that supermarkets were closed, when they weren't. We heard claims that garages had run out of petrol but, after speaking with the Managers of these garages, they assured us they did have fuel - but that protestors were keeping people out.

We will keep our fingers crossed that this action finishes soon, ideally before there are any more casualties.  Some of the rhetoric from the so-called organisers suggests that they're looking for an excuse to continue their action. It all feels like a bit of sport at the huge expense of every other decent citizen who just wants to get on with their lives. Ed]

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