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Paris commuters face chaos as strike goes on

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Paris commuters face chaos as strike goes on
No room on the escalator at Châtelet Metro station during Thursday's chaos.
16:35 CET+01:00
UPDATED: Commuters in Paris faced continued travel chaos on Thursday after train drivers on the RER held a wildcat strike following a violent attack on one of their colleagues. Drivers said they will not return to work meaning more bedlam for workers heading home after work.

Commuters in Paris faced more travel misery on Thursday evening as drivers on the RER A vowed to continue their wildcat strike.

It comes after services on the line were pretty much non-existent during rush hour on Thursday morning , which prompted scenes of chaos across the city's transport network.

The wildcat action was called after an angry passenger attacked the train driver in Torcy, on the outskirts of Paris on Wednesday night.

And it may continue into Friday.

Secretary General of the UNSA-RATP union Thierry Babec told French newspaper 20 minutes that the drivers of the RER A trains will not return to work on Thursday, although reports say management will replace them, meaning a skeleton service will resume by Thursday afternoon.

“The drivers have seen their colleague assaulted for no reason,” he said. “Their first instinct was to not return to work out of solidarity. The workers aren’t machines and we can’t pretend that nothing happened. Once these emotions have calmed down, work will resume as normal.”

Extra replacement buses are running and the subway lines 1, 14 and 6 have been reinforced according to an announcement on the Paris transport organisation’s Twitter page.

Maters were made worse by a derailment at Gare de Lyon on the RER line D and an incident on the RER C which forced trains to slow.

According to a police source quoted in Le Parisien newspaper, the attack occurred irate passenger set of the train's alarm system after getting his hand stuck in the closing doors. He then head-butted the driver who had left the cabin to reset the alarm system, before fleeing the scene.

The driver was left with a broken nose and had to be hospitalised.

Once word spread of the unprovoked atttack, fellow train drivers went on strike causing severe disruption on the regional commuter line RER A, which crosses the centre of Paris.

Buses had to be laid on to take disgruntled passengers to work and there was bedlam at Metro stations such as St Lazare (see pic above), as commuters tried to find alternative ways to cross the city.

Pierre Mongin, head of RATP criticised the strikers.

"A spontaneous interuption of services , without respect to the rules around strike warnings, is not an appropriate reaction for this kind of situation," he said, before apologizing to commuters while at the same time condemning the "unacceptable" attack on the driver.

Many passengers took to Twitter to vent their anger about the resulting delays and inconvenience.

The pictures below show some of the chaos commuters faced.

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