French police break up student protest
14 November 2007, NANTERRE - French police used truncheons and tear gas on Tuesday to break up a student protest at Paris X University, one of about a dozen campuses across France where classes have been disrupted.
14 November 2007
NANTERRE - French police used truncheons and tear gas on Tuesday to break up a student protest at Paris X University, one of about a dozen campuses across France where classes have been disrupted.
University rector Olivier Audeoud called in police after more than 100 students blocked access to all faculty buildings at the campus in Nanterre, west of Paris.
"This blockade is totally illegal and anti-democratic," Audeoud told AFP after the clash early Tuesday between students who tried to enter the buildings and protesters.
"I sent personnel in to try to calm the situation but tensions rose and we had to ask police to intervene," he said.
Anti-riot police used tear gas spray and hit protesters with truncheons to clear access to the entrances to the buildings including the law, business management and economics schools.
Students have shut down 13 of France's 85 universities in protest against a law adopted this summer that grants more autonomy to universities by allowing them to seek private funding and develop closer ties with businesses.
But rectors and the government have described the action as politically-motivated, targeting President Nicolas Sarkozy's policies in general.
The student protests could gain momentum in the coming weeks as unions in the transport and public sector gear up for strike action.
Railway workers are walking off the job on Tuesday evening and are to be joined by Paris metro employees and workers at the state-owned EDF and GDF utilities on Wednesday.
The strikes could continue until next week when teachers, civil servants, postal workers and employees of the Meteo France weather strike plan a walk-out for November 20.
Subject: French news