French fishermen step up protest over fuel costs


BORDEAUX, France — French fishermen prolonged their blockade of La Rochelle port on Sunday in a protest over rising fuel costs that comes as President Nicolas Sarkozy prepares for a week of nationwide demonstrations. Fishermen said they had blocked the ports of Chef de Baie, Rochelle’s Old Port and the Minimes port in western France.

Earlier in the week, fishermen had also cut off access to the nearby Atlantic ports at Ile d’Oleron and La Cotiniere. Record oil prices of more than US$120 a barrel have led to higher fuel costs for fishermen, impacting their profit margins.