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France faces pilot strike as Euro 2016 gets underway

Police were on high alert in the southern city of Marseille, where England and Russia supporters clashed and hurled bottles at officers in a second night of violence before their first game.

Industrial unrest, fears of terrorist attacks and devastating flooding have overshadowed the buildup to the month-long tournament.

President Francois Hollande hailed the “smooth”  start to the tournament yesterday, despite a 10 day train strike that has caused travel disruption across France.

Weeks of industrial action over government reforms to labour law had dampened the party atmosphere around the tournament, disrupting rail and metro services and leaving petrol pumps dry in many places. Arriving fans have been confronted by stinking piles of rubbish left strewn on the streets of Paris and Marseille after strikers began blockading incineration plants.

Air France pilots will began a four-day stoppage on Saturday, just as crowds of foreign fans are expected to begin arriving on French soil. Air France CEO Frederic Gagey has promised that more than 80 per cent of flights would operate. 

Meanwhile, fresh clashes erupted today between football fans gathered in the French city, police said. 
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