• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
IN PICTURES
Violence flares as French students protest job reforms
Rioters throw missiles at police and smashed windows as protests turned ugly. photo: Screengrab BFM TV

Violence flares as French students protest job reforms

The Local · 17 Mar 2016, 12:56

Published: 17 Mar 2016 12:56 GMT+01:00

High schools and universities were blocked across France on Thursday as students protested for a second time against planned job reforms.

Despite the French government agreeing to water down the controversial reforms aimed at freeing up the labour market, student unions had called for an increase in mobilization. They demand the government scrap the bill altogether.

Around 115 lycée high schools were blocked, many with waste bins, and several university campuses were closed.

But as students marched through the streets of Paris, Marseilles, Nantes and beyond, trouble flared.

Images sent out on Twitter showed banks and bus stops with their windows smashed. There were reports of three arrests in Paris and two policemen were left injured.

Some suggested troublemakers, intent on provoking a confrontation with police, had infiltrated the student protests.

The video below shows a group of protesters with their faces covered hurling missiles at riot police, who responded with tear gas.

 

In the city of Rennes, protesters descended on to the rails to block trains from arriving.

For their part, student union leaders condemned the violence.

Students had already protested earlier this month, a move which prompted the PM Manuel Valls to invite their union leaders to talks at his residency.

But his concessions failed to satisfy them and they called for students to step up their protests. 

The reforms are aimed at making it easier for French firms, particularly small and medium sized companies to lay off staff. They are also intended to make working hours more flexible to suit the company needs.

But after around 200,000 people protested last week the PM agreed to offer concessions.

In a significant change from the original text, Valls said small and medium-sized companies would not be able to unilaterally introduce flexible work practices into their working week.

The new proposals also strengthen the role of judges in rulings over redundancies.

The government argues that it is trying to free up the job market and reduce unemployment, especially of young people.

But left-wing critics say it is another example of Hollande's government taking decisions more in tune with a right-wing agenda.

President Francois Hollande had acknowledged that the original text had required "corrections" and "explanations", but had firmly ruled out withdrawing the entire proposal.

SEE ALSO: France, the 'country of eternal deadlock' resists reforms

 

 

 

Story continues below…

 

Today's headlines
Who is to blame for the fuel crisis in France?
CGT union's workers block with burning tires the access to the refinery of Fos-sur-Mer, southeastern France. Photo: AFP

With petrol stations quickly running empty and the protests set to rumble on, who can be held responsible for the growing crisis?

Paris unveils first stretch of 'bicycle highway'
Photo: AFP

Could Paris be on the way to becoming the new Amsterdam for bikes?

French air traffic control unions call for June strikes
Photo: AFP

Air traffic controllers and thousands of other workers could be set for a three day strike at the beginning of June.

IMF urges France to deepen job reforms
Photo: AFP

The International Monetary Fund has warned France to go beyond its already hotly contested job market reforms.

Dordogne named among the 'best places in Europe'
Photo: Dale Musselman/Flickr

Travel company the Lonely Planet calls the Dordogne "France's foodiest region".

French fuel crisis: 'A quarter' of petrol stations run dry
Workers on strike block the access to the harbour of Saint-Nazaire, western France to protest against the government's planned labour law reforms. Photo: AFP

UPDATED: Over 3,200 petrol stations are now reportedly empty or running dry.

French police 'raid Google's Paris offices in tax probe'
Photo: AFP

Around 100 French officials and police have raided Google's offices in Paris, reports say.

EgyptAir Flight MS804
EgyptAir: Human remains 'suggest explosion on board'
Photo: Egyptian Armed Forces

New findings, if confirmed, would support the theory that a bomb may have brought down the plane.

How to avoid running out of fuel if you're coming to France
How to avoid the fuel crisis in France. Photo: AFP

There are far worse places to be stuck with no fuel than rural France, but here's some official advice on how holidaymakers can avoid becoming stranded.

Special ops units to police Tour de France for first time
Photo: AFP

France is taking security at the Tour de France extremely seriously this year.

National
Here are the parts of France hardest hit by the fuel shortages
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Travel
It will soon be time to say 'au revoir' to the Paris Metro ticket
Culture
Revealed: The ultimate sex map of France
National
Migrants at Calais camp given dignity in death
International
How good is security at Charles de Gaulle airport?
Culture
How to make a traditional French cassoulet
Culture
IN PICS: Commuter trains in Paris get royal makeover
International
Terror attack 'likeliest cause' of missing EgyptAir plane
International
Who was on board the missing EgyptAir flight from Paris?
Lifestyle
New map reveals Paris flat prices by Metro station
Culture
Paris: Here's how to find French cinema in English
Culture
How to say 'OUCH' in French (and ten other sounds)
National
Get ready: France to be hit by week of transport strikes
Culture
France readies for first national 'motorway party'
National
Is this the eco-solution to France's wild-peeing plague?
Sport
Paris mayor wants Seine to be 'swimmable' before Olympics
National
IN PICTURES: Police car torched in Paris protests
National
Why there's another rail strike in France and more to come
National
Why does 'everyone in France hate the police'?
Culture
Foolproof ways to make French friends in France
National
Seventeen French ex-ministers vow to shine light on sex harassment
Lifestyle
French Riviera mega-mansion faces being bulldozed
Culture
Eight ways the French are different to Parisians
2,738
jobs available