Chirac's palace power cut in protest

Thursday, June 17, 2004

The Associated Press

PARIS -- French power workers cut electricity to President Jacques Chirac's official residence Wednesday in the latest in a series of "targeted outages" to protest government plans for the partial privatization of state utilities.

Electricity was cut to the Elysee Palace, the neighboring Interior Ministry and the famous Champs-Elysees avenue for about 15 minutes on Wednesday afternoon.

The CGT trade union, which is leading the protest, said the cuts were part of its campaign of "targeted outages of short duration" in an attempt to force the government to drop the plan.

Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled plans on Tuesday to transform Electricite de France and Gaz de France from state agencies into companies listed on the stock market.

The government has promised to keep at least 70 percent of EDF, but hopes to raise billions of dollars for the heavily indebted French state by selling a minority stake in the power utility.

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