Since the start of March, protests, occupations and direct action against the new CPE employment law in France have been increasing, with university and school students leading the dissent. Railways have been blockaded, airports disrupted, and up to two thirds of France's universities have been occupied or disrupted, as well as many schools. Clashes with police have occured throughout the country.
On Thursday 16th March well over 300,000 people took part in growing protests throughout France [report and pics] as more universities were occupied, roads blockaded and the town hall in Rennes was occupied. In Paris up to 120,000 protested [report and pics | gallery] followed by clashes with police using tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon [report and pics | gallery]. Around 150 arrests were made in Paris bringing the total to around 300, with over 40 police injured. (See also Censier University occupation report and pics).
Much international publicity came from the occupation and violent eviction by riot police of the Sorbonne university in Paris on Saturday 10th March [Video | Report + Pics | Gallery 1 + 2]. On Tuesday 14th the protests escalated as a student day of action saw thousands of school students taking part in occupations and blockades [report and pics | gallery] as well as more street fighting around the Sorbonne area [gallery].
The CPE is a new employment contract due to take effect in April. The CPE would allow firms to hire people aged under 26 for a two-year trial period, during which they could be easily dismissed without a reason. Students and others complain this will only increase the precarity of everyday life in France where unemployment currently runs at 10% and 50% in some areas.
See other reports [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ] Plus recent features at IMC Germany | Poland | March 22nd London CPE report back | STOPCPE |
For breaking news see French IMCs: Paris | Lille | Toulouse | Marseille | Nantes | Liege | Auvergne | Grenoble and Libcom Blog