Student protests mounting in France

9th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

9 November 2007, PARIS - Students at more than a dozen campuses across France protested on Thursday against a new law that they say will give big business too much of a say in running universities.

9 November 2007

PARIS - Students at more than a dozen campuses across France protested on Thursday against a new law that they say will give big business too much of a say in running universities.

Up to 3,000 students carrying banners that read "Our faculties are open to workers' children and closed to private interests" marched in the western city of Rennes while protests were also held in Toulouse, Nanterre, Paris and in Perpignan, Pau, Grenoble, Montpellier and Caen.

On Wednesday, protests shut down 10 of France's 85 universities.

The students are protesting a new law granting autonomy to universities that was among the first measures presented by the rightwing government of President Nicolas Sarkozy this summer.

They oppose provisions that would allow universities to seek private funding and appoint business leaders to their boards.

Higher Education Minister Valery Pecresse on Thursday dismissed the protests as being politically-motivated and said the government had increased state funding for universities.

"If the real reason for this opposition is the plight of universities then why is it being held when the state is making an unprecedented investment" in universities, Pecresse told LCI television.

The student protests came as France braced for several strikes beginning next week that was expected to cause major disruptions in transport and in public services.

AFP

Subject: French news

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