Clashes break out at Paris student protest
Protesters clashed with riot police in Paris Thursday at the start of a student march against education job cuts.
PARIS, April 4, 2008 - Protesters clashed with riot police in Paris Thursday at the start of a student march against education job cuts, as youths hurled drinks cans at security forces who charged at the crowd in response.
Police made 13 arrests following the incidents, which involved a small
minority of the 15,000 youths who organisers said took part in the protest.
The climate remained tense for the rest of the day, with local shopkeepers
shuttering their windows as the march snaked past them, from the Luxembourg
gardens south of the River Seine along the Left Bank.
Police also fired tear gas and arrested six people on the sidelines of a
smaller demonstration in the south Paris suburb of Creteil, where some 200
rioters tagged on to the event, smashing windows and vandalising furniture at
a local technical school.
Education Minister Xavier Darcos later visited the school, condemning the
violence and warning "some extremist teachers" to "consider the risk of
pushing students out into the streets."
At the main demonstration in Paris students marched behind a banner reading
"No, No, No to job cuts", in protest at government plans to cut some 11,000
secondary teaching jobs, including 8,830 in state schools, later this year.
President Nicolas Sarkozy's government says the education staff cuts are
justified by a fall in the number of high-school students, which dropped by
150,000 in the past three years.
But teachers, students and the left-wing opposition fear they presage
deeper cuts in education spending, as part of a wider drive to slash France's
Mass student protests in early 2006 forced the previous right-wing French
government to scrap plans for a flexible new youth job contract.
Those protests were marked by several outbreaks of violence involving young
rioters from the Paris suburbs.