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Photograph: Photo by jean pierre gallot, used under CC BY

France faces major disruptions on Tuesday as walk-outs by taxi drivers and air traffic controllers coincided with strikes by teachers' unions.

Striking taxi drivers and French police faced off on a highway near Paris on Tuesday morning, and traffic stalled as drivers jumped out of their cars to block the roadway.

Some 1,200 taxi drivers, protesting what they see as unfair competition from drivers who hold a kind of licence that allows them to work with app-based services like Uber, blocked roads around two airports and near Porte Maillot in western Paris.

At the Porte Maillot, police fired tear gas to disperse taxi drivers as car tyres blazed in the middle of the road. Around 20 people were arrested during the morning, French media reported, and many of the arrests were made during the highway blockage.

Drivers in the southern city of Marseille were also protesting. The demonstrations are the latest in a string of demonstrations by taxi drivers who say that services like Uber essentially run a taxi service without requiring proper licencing.

Air traffic controllers were also protesting for being exempted from a pay freeze and what they see as deteriorating work conditions, prompting the civil aviation authority to ask airlines to ground 20 per cent of their flights.

Between 13 and 33 per cent of teachers were also on strike across the country, unions and the Ministry of Education told French media, protesting for a raise in pay and criticizing some measures of proposed education reforms.

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