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Pupils attack Paris police stations after teen’s beating

School pupils, angered by an officer’s beating of a fellow student, on Friday staged violent protests in Paris, pelting at least two police stations with rocks and setting off tear gas canisters.

Pupils attack Paris police stations after teen’s beating

The outrage stems from a day earlier when a policeman was caught on video punching a 15-year-old boy on the sidelines of a student demonstration against the government’s  proposed labour reforms.

In the video, the boy is seen lying on the ground when an officer shouts at him to get up. Two policemen then hold him up, while a third suddenly punches him in the stomach.

“We were protesting, throwing eggs. A policeman … charged at me, hit me to the ground then he told me 'get up, get up' and he punched me … my head was spinning,” the shocked boy told local media afterward.

Both Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Paris police chief Michel Cadot described the images as “shocking.”

The Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation into the incident.

French students on Friday reacted angrily, with some of them pelting two Paris police stations with stones and setting off tear gas canisters. The youngsters alos tried to smash the reinforced windows of one station with planks of wood, while one had also scrawled “Death to cops” on the wall.

Police allowed the youngsters to leave the area before stationing riot police out front.

Police 'at the end of their tether'

Thursday’s nationwide student protests also turned violent, with demonstrators in the capital torching cars clashing with riot police, who responded with tear gas and making dozens of arrests.

Two policemen were injured in the chaos.

Police in France saw an unprecedented surge of support in the wake of jihadist attacks last year.

But questions over the rough treatment of people who have been subject to counter-terrorism raids had already started to reduce sympathy, and the resumption of strikes and protests over a number of government policies has put French police back in the firing line.

Nicolas Comte, secretary general of the SGP police union, told BFM TV that many police officers were fraying at the edges in France after months of protests and the constant terror threat.

“The two issues should not be linked, but with all that has happened, in terms of protests and the terrorist threat, my colleagues are very tired and at the end of their tether,” he said.

“I am not excusing it but this could explain things,” he said.

Tensions between youths and police provoked violent riots across France in 2005.

 

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Who are all these international students in France and where do they study?

France is the fourth most popular country in the world for international students, with thousands of Americans, British and Australians coming here to study. Here's what you need to know about them.

Who are all these international students in France and where do they study?
Photo: AFP
France is continuing to attract foreign students, with 310,000 choosing to study here over 2015, a 7 percent jump compared to 2012.
 
This is enough to make France the fourth most popular study-abroad country, after the US, the UK, and Australia. 
 
The stats come courtesy of Campus France, an organisation run by the French government that assists foreign students in their university applications.
 
Here's a closer look at the international students in France. 
 
 
 
 
Where do they come from?
 
In 2015, the most represented country among the foreign students in France was Morocco (37,000), followed by China (28,000), and Algeria (23,000).
 
Students from these three countries made up 27 percent of the total population of international students (see graph below).  
 
In Europe, the most popular origins were Italy (11,188), Germany (8,532), and Spain (6,817).
 
 
Meanwhile, there were 5,725 who came from the US, which marked a 2.1 percent increase since 2014, and a 22 percent increase since 2010. 
 
There was also a 10 percent increase in students coming to France from Australasia, bringing to total to around 25,000.
 
There were a further 4,022 from the UK, a 1.3 percent increase on 2014 and an 18.1 percent increase since 2010. 
 
Campus France’s director general, Béatrice Khaiat said she expects the number of students coming to France from the UK and the US to increase in the coming years.
 
“The current situation can be even more favourable to our country: the announcements made in the United States and the United Kingdom to foreign students could encourage students, parents, and even governments in fellowship programs to reorient their choice to France as a study destination,” Khaiat predicted 
 
 

 
While more students are flocking to France every year, France is actually losing its share of the market, as the graph below shows. 
 
The number of students choosing to study abroad (seen in red below) is soaring at a far higher rate than the number of students coming to France (in blue). 
 
The numbers below, which are in thousands, highlight how many more students are choosing to study internationally, with Canada and China enjoying particularly large booms in their international student populations, according to Campus France
 
Where in France do they study?
 
The most popular places to study for foreign students were Paris at 59,179, followed by Versailles at 26,588, and Lyon at 24,150 (see map below). 
 
Other notable cities included Creteil at 21,500, Lille at 15,500, and Toulouse at 15,000. 
 
It was Nice that saw the biggest three-year jump (since 2012), with 25.4 percent more international students choosing the southern city (for a total of 9,202). 

Grenoble, which was named France's best student city late last year, attracted a respectable 11,029 students, up over 12 percent between 2012 and 2015.
 
Other cities with over 10,000 international students included Rennes, Nantes, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, and Montpellier. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What do they study?
 
As for what they actually study, the graph below shows that most opt for courses in languages, arts, and humanities. 
 
The second most popular field was sport sciences, followed by economics, law, and medicine.  
 
Some 46 percent are in France as part of an undergraduate degree, while 43 percent are here for a Master's degree. Another 11 percent are here for their doctorate. 
 

So what next?
 
Well, now you know what you can expect and who you might meet – and you can always click the link below to find out more about visas and student life. But wait, there's more. 
 
We are making a push to provide more content for our readers who are international students. If you're a foreigner and you're spending this semester studying in France – then we want to hear from you. Especially if you're keen on getting some of your writing published, or feel like letting us know what's going on around campus. 
 
What are you waiting for? Introduce yourself to us via: [email protected] And best of luck this semester. 
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