French riot police were called in to break a blockade of a fuel depot as France’s hardline CGT union stepped up efforts to derail proposed new labour laws.

Police used water cannons in the early hours of Wednesday to remove around 100 trade unionists who were blocking a fuel depot at Douchy-les-Mines, in northern France and close to the Belgian border.

France’s President Francois Hollande played down fears the violent strikes and protests against the laws will disrupt the Euro 2016 football tournament, which kicks off in just over two weeks’ time.

President Hollande was asked about comparisons between the disorder and the ‘May revolution’ which paralysed France in 1968.

He said: ‘May 1968 involved millions of people, students occupying universities, workers occupying factories. This is just a traditional conflict.’

‘Don’t worry. France is just being France,’ added Hollande.

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