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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 January, 2005, 10:40 GMT
Rape prompts French strike action
Paris station
The strike follows a week after widespread stoppages
French railways say there has been significant disruption from a 24-hour walkout by staff protesting at the rape of a ticket inspector.

French state rail company, SNCF, said services were running normally in only a few regions but international links had not been hit.

Rail unions are demanding a security review following the attack and say inspectors should not work alone.

The woman was raped when she tried to charge a man for not having a ticket.

A 24-year-old man was later arrested at his home after the incident on Tuesday on a train between Toulouse and Cahors, in southern France.

The strike, which caused widespread problems after it started on Wednesday, is due to end at 1500 GMT. SNCF said it expected services to improve gradually throughout the day.

A SNCF spokesman urged workers to return to work. "I understand their disgust over this hateful act, but I also ask that everything be done to allow people to return to their homes tonight," he said.

The action follows a wave of strikes in France last week by rail workers, teachers and civil servants over cutbacks and planned reforms.

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